The draft Committee Reports on the budget votes of, respectively, the Department of Correctional Services and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development were tabled for approval by Members. Although the ACDP, DA and EFF indicated that they still needed to take the budget to their caucuses for approval or other comment, they participated in and indicated that they were happy with the wording of the draft Reports, as amended.
Technical amendments and amendments to clarify or amplify wording were suggested by Members. In respect of the Department of Correctional Services, the Committee expressed its concerns with under-spending on the Rehabilitation programme. In respect of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Chairperson suggested that the Committee should make a recommendation that study of another of the 11 official languages should be included into the law degree curriculum. Members expressed some concerns with the combining of the work of two ministries under one Committee and the Chairperson suggested that a fuller debate on this was necessary but that the public interest was a prime consideration. The wording in relation to donor funding and Third Party funds was tightened, and a Member suggested that further research was needed what exactly new budget items would cover.
Consideration of draft Committee Report on Departments of Justice and Correctional Services: Budget votes 21 and 24
Vote 21: Department of Correctional Services
The draft Committee Reports (the Reports) were circulated to Members only and they were asked to provide comment.
In respect of Paragraph 6.1.4, Mr S Swart (ACDP) noted that the abbreviation “APP” should be clarified by the full spelling out of “Annual Performance Plan”.
For paragraph 7.3.6, Mr Swart reminded Members that the Committee had expressed concerns abut the under spending on the rehabilitation programme. He thus suggested that a sentence to this effect should be inserted.
Ms G Breytenbach (DA) pointed to a technical error on page 11, asking that “behaving” be substituted with “behaviour”.
In respect of paragraph 9.4, Mr Swart said that the sentence should read “the use of technology to block cell phones”.
The Chairperson asked the Committee Members if they agreed with the corrections proposed.
Ms Breytenbach said that she could not adopt the Report yet as she would have to take it to her party’s caucus.
Mr Swart said that he needed to consult his colleagues also.
Ms K Litchfield-Tshabalala (EFF) said that she would take this to her party’s caucus also, but she felt that there were some problems in the Report.
The Chairperson emphasised that the draft Report would be taken to the caucuses, for the final decisions.
Mr Swart noted that the positions of those Members must thus be reserved at present.
Ms Breytenbach said that the Committee could adopt the Report’s wording, as agreed on.
The wording of the Report, as amended, was duly adopted.
Vote 24: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Mr Swart pointed out that the second last sentence of paragraph 11.1 needed to be amplified with a recommendation.
In paragraph 11.5, Mr Swart corrected the percentage figure from 21% to 79%.
The Chairperson suggested that this Committee should perhaps recommend that in order to get a law degree, one extra language (out of the eleven official languages) also needed to be studied and passed.
Mr Swart asked, referring to paragraph 13.5, what the advantages or disadvantages were of combining two ministries. He was concerned that it would mean more work for the Committee which would prolong the process to reach decisions. He believed that the Committee should simply express that there were concerns on the point.
Mr L Mpumlwana (ANC) asked if Mr Swart was adding to, or opposing the wording.
Mr Swart responded by saying it was subject to correction, as the Committee had discussed this issue of the merging of committees before.
The Chairperson said that it was necessary to bear in mind the public interest, rather than focusing on the workload for the Committee.
The Chairperson, referring to paragraph 14.1, noted that the Public Protector had said that its workload had increased.
The Chairperson believed that paragraph 14.7 was not necessary and suggested that it be deleted.
The Chairperson asked if the Committee agreed with paragraph 15.1. Other Members had no problems with it.
The Committee Secretary, Mr Vhonani Ramaano, pointed out that both paragraphs 14.8 and 14.9 dealt with the issue of unfunded matters, and were duplicating each other, so one should be deleted.
Mr Swart suggested, in paragraph 19.4, that caution was needed on how the sentence on funding, and particularly the use of donor funding, read.
The Chairperson said that it referred not only to the use, but also the acquisition of the funding.
Mr Swart, referring to page 27, said that the Committee should put a recommendation about the legal status of the Third Party Funds.
The Chairperson said that during apartheid days, funds were given by NGOs.
Mr Swart said that he understood the sentiment, but since the Committee did not have full information, there was a need for a recommendation on that point.
Ms C Pilane-Majake (ANC) urged the Committee to research and find out exactly what the new budget was for.
Mr Swart again expressed his concern about combining two Committees into the current one, as it would increase the workload of the Members.
The Chairperson said that the recommendations would be put in the Report, but said that the Committee needed more time to discuss the points and would put them on the agenda for another meeting.
Members adopted the Report, as amended.
The Chairperson asked the Members if they were happy with the content of the intended press release statement.
Members confirmed they were all happy with the release.
The meeting was adjourned.
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