The Minister of Correctional Services, Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, was present for the briefing on the DCS Strategic Plan. Its goal was to ensure that offenders were rehabilitated and reintegrated into society as law abiding citizens. The Departments’ main project for this was the Victim-Offender Dialogue, which linked the offender up to the victim so the offender could apologise to the victim and show remorse for their actions. This initiative empowered the community, and was a route towards integrating former inmates into society. Another of its goals was to reduce the number of offenders inside South African prisons, through the reduction of criminal activities. Currently, there were about 154 000 offenders in prison. To reduce these numbers, the involvement of society was necessary, and the Strategic Plan addressed these matters holistically. The Departments’ Annual Performance Plan set out clear targets and operation plans for meeting these targets on a quarterly basis. The new vision and mission, as well as its objectives and strategic goals had been aligned with government planning, monitoring and evaluation.
Members raised a number of questions such as why there were a large number of ‘Acting’ Heads of programmes, how the DCS measured its success in the rehabilitation of detainees and the high cost of outsourcing for catering within the correctional facilities. Members argued that the DCS should rather look at empowering qualified inmates to handle catering services. It was also suggested that inmates needed to work for their food. By being idle the chances of infighting rose and this could be reduced if they had serious work to do. Members asked how much progress the DCS had made in the roll out of the electronic monitoring system, and what had happened to the TB treatment equipment which had been donated to the DCS by the Department of Health. Members were aware of the equipment being distributed only at Pollsmoor Prison. How far was the DCS from fully implementing the Victim-Offender Dialogue, and what was the role of the Ministerial Task Team in addressing staffing, transport and shift allocation challenges faced by the Department? Most importantly, how did the DCS measure the success of its rehabilitation programmes?
As for overcrowding, it was argued that there was no political will within the DCS to tackle this problem.
Minister’s opening remarks
Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, Minister of Correctional Services, said that the DCS was part of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster, and the DCS concentrated on its Strategic Goal 3 which stated that the DCS aimed to ensure that society was protected, by making sure that offenders were being reintegrated into the community as law abiding citizens. Safety was therefore a huge responsibility for the Department. The DCS was in a partnership with the Department of State Security to ensure that South African citizens were protected from external threats to their security and safety.
The Departments’ Strategic Plan was there to ensure that offenders were rehabilitated and reintegrated into society as law abiding citizens. During the first week of the inmates being admitted into prison, they are made to understand that whatever crime they committed was wrong, and that they take ownership for their actions, that they accept the guilt and eventually move towards becoming a better human person. Offenders sometimes regret getting caught rather than regretting committing the crime. The DCS was therefore encouraging offenders to participate in a programme which linked the offender up to the victim so the offender could apologise to the victim and show remorse. This programme was referred to as the Victim-Offender dialogue programme. This initiative empowered communities, and was a route towards integrating former inmates into society. The programme was thus a key project within the Department. One of the aims of the DCS was to reduce the number of offenders inside South African prisons, through the reduction of criminal activities. Currently, there were about 154 000 offenders in prison. To reduce these numbers, the involvement of society was necessary, and the Strategic Plan addressed these matters holistically.
Department of Correctional Services (DCS) Strategic Plan
Ms Nontsikelelo Jolingana, DCS Chief Operations Officer, introduced the delegation and said the DCS would be giving a presentation on its Strategic Plan, based on the progress made by the DCS in comparison to that of the previous years. The Strategic Plan took into account the priorities set out in the National Development Plan (NDP). The Annual Performance Plan set out clear targets and operation plans for meeting these targets on a quarterly basis. The Departments new vision and mission, as well as its objectives and strategic goals had been aligned with government planning, monitoring and evaluation. The DCS had made significant progress in the management of detainees; this had been as a result of the establishment of a remand detention branch, and by ensuring the rehabilitation of detainees.
Mr Terrence Raseroka, Acting Chief Deputy Commissioner: Strategic Management, referred Members to the Strategic Plan document handed out and indicated that the first page of the document gave a short summary of the Department’s plans. He highlighted that the DCS revised its vision and mission so that they would talk to the challenges currently faced by the Department. The revised Vision for the DCS was to “provide the best correctional services for a safer South Africa.” The new Mission was to “contribute to a just, peaceful and safer South Africa through effective humane incarceration of inmates, rehabilitation and social reintegration of offenders.” He argued that each organisation needed to have Values which drove the personnel to achieve its Strategic objectives. The Department’s core values were: Development, Integrity, Ubuntu, Effectiveness, Accountability, Justice, Security, Equity.
He then highlighted the Department’s key strategic outcome oriented goals, which were in line with the Department’s mandate. The DCS had three goals. Goal 1 was to provide “effective criminal justice through the effective management of remand process.” Goal 2 was to ensure that “society is protected through incarcerated offenders being secure and rehabilitated.” Goal 3 was to ensure that “society was protected by offenders being reintegrated into the community as law abiding citizens.” These strategic goals were in line with the Department’s organisational structure because each goal had a dedicated branch headed by a Chief Deputy Commissioner.
Mr Raseroka outlined the Department’s strategic objectives for each of its programmes:
Programme 1: Administration
Building organisational capacity for enhancing service delivery
Effective management of business processes to promote good governance and ethical administration
Programme 2: Incarceration
Effective management of remand detention process to promote and enable participation in court processes
Remand detainees and offenders are held in secure, safe and humane conditions
Effective case management process
Programme 3: Rehabilitation
Effective incarceration and rehabilitation to protect society
Offender behaviour corrected through access to correctional programmes and psychological, social and spiritual services
Offenders human development improved through literacy, education and skills competency programmes
Reducing re-offending to contribute to a safer South Africa
Programme 4: Care
Inmates provided with appropriate nutritional services
Inmates provided with appropriate access to health services
Inmates provided with appropriate hygiene services
Programme 5: Social Reintegration
Probationers and parolees rehabilitated; monitored an accepted as law abiding citizens by the communities
Offenders provided with access to restorative justice processes
Effective management and functioning of Parole Boards
Mr Raseroka said that the Department’s key focus area was to fight against crime and corruption. The DCS focused on Outcome 3, which was to ensure that all people in South Africa were safe and felt safe. The JCPC Cluster further outlined 7 Cluster outputs. These were;
Reduced overall levels of serious crime in particular contact and trio crimes
More effective criminal justice system
Managed and improved perception of crime among the population
SA’s borders effectively safeguarded and secured
Integrity of identity and status of citizens and residence secured
Secure cyber space
The outputs were in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), while the DCS specifically focuses on Output 2; providing a more effective criminal justice system. Out of this Output, the DCS drafted its own focus points, which were outlined in the Department’s Strategic Plan. The Department’s mandate was therefore aligned with the NDP outputs as well as with its own focus points/ outcomes. The Department’s key focus areas were Chapter 12 and Chapter 14 of the NDP. DCS aimed to respond quickly to the large influx of new cases and to develop a framework for repeat offenders by the end of 2013.
The DCS had a responsibility to align its strategic outcome oriented goals with government priorities. With regard to the JCPS Cluster Output 2.6 , the DCS aim was to ensure that remand detainees had conditions conducive for participation in court processes. The performance indicator was to reduce the average length of time. As for the JCPS Cluster Output 2, the Department’s aligned output was to ensure that offenders were held in safe, secure and humane custody, with improved correctional sentencing plans, and to eventually ensure that offender behaviour was corrected. The performance indicator was to reduce the average length of time. As for the JCPS Cluster Output 2.7, the Department’s aligned output was to improve administration and supervision of persons under the system of community corrections. The performance indicator was the percentage of parolees without violations as well as the operationalization of electronic monitoring system. The DCS thus aimed to integrate it Information Technology (IT) Systems with those of the JCPS Cluster.
Mr Raseroka said that the core values of the DCS were in line with the Department’s value system and organizational culture. DCS staff therefore had to complement the common values of the Department. About the Department’s Strategic Intent, he argued that freedom would not last until it was coupled with order. Therefore as part of the JCPS cluster, the key focus area of the DCS is “the fight against crime and corruption” ensure that all people in South Africa are, and feel, safe. According to the Minister of Correctional Services, 2013 was declared the year of “Correctional Official”. The DCS aimed to turn all prisons into learning centres, such that offenders would read, study and work. The DCS would enforce corrections programmes through music, reading for redemption, creative literature, the arts, cultural events, heritage renewal events, sporting events, formal education and acquisition of skills, economic renewal through cooperatives and enterprise development, spiritual growth and self-correcting interventions, amongst others.
As for the Department’s organizational environment, there was a high turnover of critical posts, due to inadequate and inappropriate staffing patterns. There was therefore a need to address entry level appointment challenges, by increasing the Department’s annual intake, and retaining and attracting scare skills. The Department’s IT systems were unstable and insecure. In response, the DCS had implemented an IT turnaround strategy and a Master Information Systems Plan. The DCS aimed to reduce the number of consultants it contracted. As for finance, the DCS spending patterns were inconsistent, and this produced challenges in procurement and contract management.
The DCS was however committed to the following core functions, which had designated branches:
- Effective justice systems are maintained through effective management of remand process
- Society was protected through incarcerated offenders being secured and rehabilitated
- Society was protected by offenders being reintegrated into communities as law abiding citizens
The Department’s Strategy was conducted within the context of the Department’s Strengths’ Weaknesses Opportunities Threats (SWOT) Analysis.
Department of Correctional Services (DCS) Annual Performance Plan (APP) 2013/2014
Mr Raseroka outlined the Annual Performance Plan for the 2013/2014financial year.
Programme 1- Administration
The Purpose of the programmes was to provide leadership, strategic management and administrative support to the Department. The programme consisted of the Ministry, Finance, Internal Audit, Management, Corporate Services and the Office Administration and Residential accommodation.
The strategic objectives were to:
Build organisational capacity for enhanced service delivery
Provide for effective management of business processes to promote good governance and ethical administration
Provide a secured ICT infrastructure and business systems
Professionalise the DCS for effective human resource management and development
The programme coordinated the overall strategic and budget planning direction to the DCS and their related activities and provided information technology services and human resources services to the Department.
The Programme consisted of the sub-programmes: management and corporate services. As for the programmes’s budget and expenditure trends, in 2012/13, the programme was allocated a R4.65 billion budget, and this was increased slightly for 2013/14 to R5.25 billion.
Some of the main performance indicators for the sub-programmes were the:
▪ Percentage of cases brought against the DCS and to be defended
▪ Integrated Correctional Management System (ICMS).
▪ Percentage of funded posts that are filled.
▪ The number of officials trained per workplace skills plan (WSP) priority.
▪ Number of Management Areas where Integrated Employee Health and Wellness (IEHW) Programmes were rolled out.
Programme 2- Incarceration
Mr Raseroka indicated that Programme 2 was made up of Security operations, Offender Management, Remand Detention and Facilities. The purpose of the programme was to provide appropriate services and a well maintained physical infrastructure that supports safe and secure condition of detention consistent with the human dignity of inmates, personnel and public, as well as the profiling of inmates and the compilation of needs-based correctional sentence plans, administration and interventions
The strategic objectives were as follows:
▪ Effective management of remand detention processes to promote enable participation in court processes.
▪ Remand detainees and offenders are held in secure, safe and humane conditions
▪ Effective case management process
The justification for the programme was that the DCS needed to provide services on compiling correctional sentence plans and applies necessary measures in order to reduce the average length of time in remand detention facilities.
The programme included the following sub-programmes; security operations, facilities and remand detention. The performance indicators for these sub-programmes included:
▪ Percentage of inmates assaulted in correctional and remand detention facilities per year.
▪ Percentage of inmates who escape from correctional and remand detention facilities per year. Annual target was to achieve a 0.032% reduction in escapes.
▪ Number of new bed-spaces created by upgrading of facilities. Annual target was to add 471 additional bed spaces in the 2013/14 financial year.
▪ Percentage of RD’s with bail placed under non-custodial system against the RD’s with bail. Annual target was to achieve a 11% increase of RDs with bail placed under non-custodial system against those with bail
▪ Percentage of overcrowding in correctional facilities. The annual target was to achieve a 30% reduction or less for the 2013/14 financial year
Programme 3- Rehabilitation
The Programme consists of the Correctional Programme, offender development, and psychological, social and spiritual services. The purpose of the programme was to provide offenders with needs-based programmes and interventions to facilitate their rehabilitation, social responsibility, human development and enable their social reintegration.
The programme consisted of the following sub-programmes: correctional programmes, offender development and psychological, social and spiritual Services.
The justification for this programme was that it was geared towards preparing inmates/offenders for their eventual release, helping to reduce recidivism. Providing educational and skills development programmes to help inmates/offenders improve their self-determination and facilitate their reentry into communities.
Performance indicators varied and included:
▪ Percentage of inmates who are involved in psychological services
▪ Percentage of Incarcerated offenders and those sentenced to Correctional Supervision who are involved in social work services
▪ Percentage of inmates who benefit from spiritual services
Programme 4- Care
Programme consists of the following sub-programmes: nutritional services, health services and hygienic services. The purpose of the programme was to provide needs-based care services aimed at maintaining the well-being of inmates in the Department’s custody. The justification for the programme was that it was an obligation that inmates in correctional and remand detention facilities receive nutritional and health services for effective operation. The DCS provides HIV/AIDS, TB and other health services to inmates/offenders in order to maintain good health status.
These were the performance indicators for the programme:
▪ Percentage of food service units with the required resources
▪ Percentage of inmates tested for HIV
▪ Percentage of inmates initiated in Antiretroviral Therapy
▪ TB Cure rate
▪ Number of management areas with effective management of health care and waste services
Programme 5: Social Reintegration
The programme consists of the following sub-programmes: parole administration, supervision, community reintegration, office accommodation and community corrections.
The purpose of the programme was to provide services focused on offenders’ preparation for release, effective supervision of offenders placed under the system of community corrections and facilitation of social reintegration into their communities. The justification for the programme was that social reintegration was critical and necessary for supervision of probationers, facilitation of inmate/offenders towards successful reintegration into the community.
These were the performance indicators for the programme:
▪ Percentage of parole cases in which victims of crime made representations
▪ Percentage of cases submitted by CMCs and considered by Parole Boards
▪ Percentage of parolees without violations
▪ Percentage of probationers without violations
▪ Improved awareness strategy on alternative non-custodial sentences and measures under the system of community corrections
▪ Number of Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD)
▪ Decentralization of Community Correction Services
The Minister noted that the reason most of the Programme Heads were ‘Acting’ was that the previous Heads had been recruited to other departments. However the DCS had advertised all the temporary posts, and they would be filled in the next few months.
Department’s 2013 Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE)
Ms Nandi Mareka, DCS Acting Chief Financial Officer, said that the Departmental ENE for 2013 could be summarized as follows; the baseline allocation figures were at R18,748 billion (5.9% increase) in 2013/14, R19,721 billion (5.2% increase) in 2014/15 and R20,795 billion (5.5% increase) in 2015/16. Cabinet approved budget cuts of R237,6 million in 2013/14, R458 million in 2014/15 and R504,5 million in 2015/16 were implemented. And new additional allocations for Improved Conditions of Services (ICS) amounted to R222 million for 2013/14, R278,4 million for 2014/15 and R483,6 million for 2015/16. Allocations were therefore in support of the 3 of the 12 national outcomes and DCS adopted 3 outcomes: Improved quality of education, long and healthy life for all South Africans, all people in SA are and feel safe.
An explanation was given for the reprioritization initiatives and budget baseline reductions. After the initial submission of the draft ENE the following amendments were implemented, a letter was written to National Treasury requesting a shift of funds from Programme 1: Admin: Goods and services to Programme 2: Incarceration: Compensation of employees for the creation of 95 posts to increase capacity for facilities management with a budget allocation of R38,7 million in 2013/14, R41 million in 2014/15 and R42,9 million in 2015/16. An approval was granted by National Treasury on the 15 January 2013 to shift funds and to incorporate changes in 2013 ENE. National Treasury indicated that due to increasing economic challenges Cabinet has approved on 6 February 2013 that spending in the entire country be reduced by R14.8 billion over the MTEF period. The impact of the budget reduction on DCS was as follows:
R50 million in 2013/14; R60 million in 2014/15; and R70 million in 2015/16. These amounts were reduced under the Programme Administration item: Compensation of Employees.
As for the Department’s personnel, the Department’s 2012/13 current funded establishment was 41 911 posts. There were 1 507 posts as at end of September 2012 which been carried additional to the establishment. The filled posts up to 30 September 2012 were 40 349 permanent posts and 1 507 carried additional to the funded establishment bringing the total filled posts to 41 856. The DCS was continuing with the process of filling all funded vacant posts.
Programme 1: Administration
The bulk of spending goes towards compensation of employees and goods and services, while the programme’s two largest sub-programmes are Office Accommodation and Corporate Services.
The significant increase in expenditure on travel and subsistence in 2013/14 provided for above average increases in transport costs, while the increase in expenditure on food and food supplies from 2013/14 provides for the planned self-provision of food services in centres where it was currently outsourced. Expenditure in the Corporate Services sub-programme was expected to increase over the medium term to provide for improved conditions of service and training for personnel.
The total allocation for the programme was R 5.25 billion
Programme 2: Incarceration
The bulk of spending in this programme goes towards compensation of employees, mainly due to the labour intensive nature of the Security Operations sub-programme.
The total allocation for the programme was R 10 billion.
Programme 3: Rehabilitation
The bulk of spending in this programme goes towards compensation of employees, due to the labour intensive nature of its largest sub-programme, Offender Development.
Spending on compensation of employees over the seven-year period increases, mainly due to the filling of vacant posts and additional funding for the implementation of the Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) for correctional officials, educators and artisans, and improved conditions of service as required by resolution 1 of 2007 of the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC). The significant increase in expenditure in the Psychological, Social and Spiritual Services sub-programme from 2012/13 to 2015/16 was due to an increase in the number of offenders using the services this sub-programme offers and the intensification of awareness programmes at correctional centres.
The total allocation for the programme was R 1 billion.
Programme 4: Care
The bulk of spending in the programme goes towards goods and services, and its two largest sub-programmes are Nutritional Services and Health Services. The largest goods and services items are agency and support services, and food and food supplies inventory for outsourced catering services.
The total allocation for the programme was R 1.58 billion.
Programme 5: Social Reintegration
The bulk of this programme’s spending goes towards compensation of employees due to the labour intensive nature of its largest sub-programme: Supervision.
The total allocation for this programme was R 801 million.
The total ENE allocation for the DCS was R 18.7 billion
Mr D Bloem (COPE; Free State) asked for an explanation on why there were so many ‘Acting’ heads of Programmes. He asked why the Commissioner was not present in the meeting. DCS seemed to rather appoint external personnel to take up the permanent posts. Why did the DCS not rather promote and train the ‘Acting’ Heads to be permanent senior managers.
The Minister replied that the Commissioner was attending the Committee of Directors General and that was why he could not attend the meeting. On the issue of personnel, previous Heads were either promoted within the DCS or were recruited from outside. He agreed with Mr Bloem that the DCS needed to fast-track the filling of these senior management positions.
Mr J Bekker (DA; Western Cape) thanked the DCS for the outstanding presentation. During some oversight visits he conducted, he was very impressed with the conditions of some of the correctional centres he paid visits to. He asked how the DCS measured its success in the rehabilitation of detainees.
Mr A Matila (ANC; Gauteng) said it was important that the ‘Acting’ senior management vacancies be filled. He urged the Minister to give an indication of where exactly these vacant posts are.
Mr Bloem added that the Minister should give the Committee an indication of the senior management vacant posts in each of the nine provinces.
Mr L Nzimande (ANC; KwaZulu Natal) welcomed the Department’s presentation and thanked the DCS for the information given on its plans. He said the Department’s presentation was much more organised, which was a significant improvement from previous years. He asked the DCS to expand on the progress it had made on Victim-Offender Dialogues throughout the country. He referred to the Departments plans for IT and its role in the JCPS Cluster and asked what progress there was in this area. He said that the Ministerial Task Team should be welcomed. What efforts or plans did the task team have in place for dealing with some of the challenges highlighted within the Department? In terms of the APP, what work would be taking place to try and deal with the problems which arise from shifts among warders?
Mr Matila said that 21 people were deployed for visual services, what was the progress made? He noted catering services within Correctional Services was being outsourced on a contractual basis. What progress had been made in handing that area back as a responsibility of inmates? Reference was made to the agriculture sector and the shortages of staff. Both of these could be tackled by empowering inmates to assume responsibility for their catering. The DCS had indicated in the presentation that they were trying to save costs, however outsourcing was very costly. Travelling for night staff was very costly. The President had previously made available equipment to the DCS for TB screening; some of the equipment was allocated to Pollsmoor prison. However an explanation was needed on where the rest of the equipment was. He agreed with Mr Nzimande that the performance of the DCS had improved.
Mr Nzimande asked for clarity on the Department’s electronic monitoring system. How far was the DCS from fully implementing the system? According to the APP, the DCS defended about 80% of litigation involving its staff. What kind of cases were these? This matter was raised as a concern. Scare skills within the DCS was a concern. What was the Department’s Human Development Strategy, and what contributions did partnerships with other departments such as the Department of Health, have towards dealing with the challenge of scarce skills. Were there any other stakeholders with whom the DCS worked, and what value did they bring to the Department?
Ms Jolingana replied that the structure of the DCS was mostly controlled by the National Commissioner, and its control was too huge. All Deputy Director Generals’ and Regional Commissioners were reporting to the National Commissioner. This was identified as one of the blockages for efficiency and service delivery within the Department. In an attempt to reduce some of the operational matters, the Chief Operations Officer was then introduced. In the current structure, Regional Commissioners were therefore reporting to the Chief Operations Officer. The Department’s structure was therefore % filled, until the Ministry of Defence recruited some of the Department’s senior personnel. However all Regional Commissioners had been filled, and Deputy Regional Commissioners had been filled accept for that of KwaZulu Natal. As for Area Commissioners, there were 52 of them out of these only 6 were vacant. In terms of management, the DCS had made sure that all senior vacancies were filled. Those which were vacant were due to promotions within the Department. The filling of these vacancies therefore contributed to the stability within the Department.
In terms of the Victim-Offender dialogue, she added that rollouts were taking place constantly throughput the country. The Ministerial task team was looking at all ithe ssues which were affecting staff, which were mostly to do with the DCS and the Department of Labour. The issue of the ‘shift system’ was therefore part of the discussions taking place within the DCS among others. All matters creating tension between management and staff were being dealt with by the task team. After the finalisation of the process, the Minister would make the full information available to the Committee. As for the Department’s travelling policy for senior and junior managers, there was one consolidated policy. Staff was therefore encouraged to use the most cost effective travel system, when travelling on official business. The Committee was asked to make the information available about the DCS managers who were abusing the Department’s travel policy.
As for the TB Treatment equipment which was donated by the Department of Health, each region was allocated one machine. However when considering the different sizes of the regions and the different spread of the problem, the Department of Health increased the machines at a later stage. About the audio visual systems, 26 were operational out of 47. The reasons for these systems not being operational were due to cable theft and damage. With regard to the Department’s Human Development strategy, the DCS asked to be given an opportunity to officially present its strategy to the Committee. However bursaries were being offered to the Department’s staff. The DCS was trying to work with other departments such as Social Development to share bursary holders who were in need of employment.
Ms Jolingana said that it was very difficult for the DCS to measure its success when it came to rehabilitation of inmates. However, the DCS was working with various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in an attempt to make the impact and effect of the rehabilitation programmes a long term success. One way to measure the success of rehabilitation was that inmates did not return to the facilities. The DCS was in partnerships with various NGOs by empowering them with ‘starter kits’ to earn a living for themselves. However one of the Department’s major challenges was that upon release, former inmates who have the relevant qualifications have aspirations to work within various government departments and they are not employable due to having a criminal offence. This was therefore a challenge which the DCS had to deal with.
The Minister replied to the question on electronic monitoring and said that it was a very important electronic innovation as it enabled the DCS to reduce overcrowding significantly. There were large numbers of inmates who were still waiting for trial, and this was a matter which needed immediate government attention. This was an injustice in terms of what the Constitution which said detention without trial was injustice. Many of the inmates who were awaiting trial had been in prison for many years. Democratic countries were reducing the number of detainees inside their prisons, and South Africa was behind in this regard. The roll out of electronic monitoring would therefore assist the DCS. The rollout for 2013/14 was 500 and would be doubled in the following year.
The DCS measured its success in its rehabilitation programme as the inmate genuinely feeling remorseful for their actions and wanted to reconcile with the victim. Inmates would acknowledge that what they did was wrong, and the DCS worked with various psychological services to achieve this. Victim-Defender dialogue was therefore a very personal matter and rehabilitation was evident through inmates wanting to find closure. In terms of the rehabilitation mandate, the DCS encouraged inmates to improve themselves through educational, spiritual and recreational activities. He agreed that keeping inmates for years awaiting trial was unconstitutional. Keeping inmates unnecessarily inside correctional centres was very costly. As for the Task Team, a meeting was held among the members and the report from the work of the Task Team would be made available in June 2013. DCS was still struggling with scarce skills within the Department. However, the DCS was looking into training inmates with skills necessary to reduce operational backlogs within the Department. Cuba was one case study the DCS was looking at. Many correctional centres were built by these inmates.
Ms Jolingana said that some offenders were qualified professionals when they were arrested however according to the law, the DCS could not make use of their professional skills. These were thus some of the challenges in policy which the entire country needed to reassess. About the question on nutrition and outsourcing, she replied that the DCS outsourced in eight management areas for catering. The possibility of in sourcing was looked at, however there were challenges with infrastructure and staffing etc. The DCS then conducted a feasibility study to assess the challenges faced by the Department. Food was not seen to be one of the core mandates of the Department. The feasibility study was currently underway, and the results would be made available to the Committee.
Mr Bloem said he did not agree with the outsourcing of nutrition because many inmates were sitting in the prisons and were fully qualified as cooks. Catering should therefore be handed over to the relevant inmates to reduce costs. As for overcrowding, he argued that there was no political will within the DCS to tackle this problem. By keeping inmates without relevant cause, the DCS was wasting taxpayer money. About former inmates not being employable, he argued that the DCS did not have the political will to tackle such issues. The Committee was more than willing to support the DCS to deal with these challenges. He argued that inmates needed to work for their food. By being idle the chances of infighting rose and this could be reduced if they had serious work to do.
Mr Matila said that the correctional centres needed to be equipped to grow and cultivate their own produce. Zonderwater prison was given as an example of a centre with success in this. He agreed with Mr Bloem that by giving inmates works, problems within the correctional services would be eliminated.
Mr J Gunda (ID; Northern Cape) raised a concern that warders were not adequately trained to deal with THE various challenges which arise within these correctional centres. The DCS therefore needed to form solid partnerships with relevant departments such as the Department of Education to deal with the skills problems within these correctional centres.
The Minister in closing, thanked the delegation from the DCS for their outstanding presentation, and said that all points raised by the Members would be taken aboard and the DCS would build on them.
The Chairperson thanked the Minister and the delegation from the DCS and said that the Committee looked forward to further engagements with the Department.
The meeting was adjourned.