Department of Correctional Services 2013/14 Annual Report: Stakeholder hearings & Researcher Analysis

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Justice and Correctional Services

15 October 2014
Chairperson: Dr M Motshekga (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee heard submissions from stakeholders in the DCS environment from Popcru, Sonke Gender Justice and NICRO. They applauded some of the improvements the DCS had made in its performance though they lamented more the recurring challenges such as sexual violence in prisons, delays in remand detainee trials. The high turnover of employees and unfilled vacancies was also worrying. The Committee was concerned with the high expenditure on the incarceration programme while rehabilitation and social reintegration seemed less prioritised, and over the fact that DCS was still capturing admissions and releases manually. Auditor-General South Africa presented the audit outcomes of DCS for 2013/14. The Committee deplored the recurrent audit findings and the unqualified audit.

The Committee wanted full clarity on the many issues raised by the stakeholders and Auditor-General South Africa which DCS responded to in full. DCS was not able to present its Annual Report formally but it will return several times in October and November to account for the challenges in its key performance areas.

Meeting report

The Chairperson noted that time constraints allowed time only for some highlights of each submission (see each document for full details).

Analysis of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) 2013/14 Annual Report
Mr Mpho Mathabatha, Committee researcher, identified areas of concern in the DCS Annual Report.

Technical aspects
Some targets had not been specific enough making it difficult for the Auditor-General (AG) to measure them, for instance the business process re-engineering project which DCS reported as 99% achieved. What that re-engineering project meant was unclear.

Key challenges
There was also a lack of consistency in the population figures of offenders for 2013/14.

Programme 2: Incarceration
Unnatural deaths

Mr Mathabatha noted that according to the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) figures unnatural deaths numbered 46 whereas DCS was saying it was 61. As the Committee would recall from the previous day when Mr Mathabatha had asked how JICS verified if the information it received from DCS was accurate: the response from JICS had been that it could physically go and validate the information. The challenge then became the inconsistency in the two totals provided by the two institutions and the Committee had to ask for clarity.

Audit Report of Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA)
DCS managers needed to work on the recurring findings by AGSA. Possibly DCS should include in the performance agreements of managers a clause specifying AGSA findings for which a specific manager would be held accountable.

Wits Justice Project (WJP) submission
Ms Nooshin-Erfani-Ghadini, WJP Project Coordinator, touched on key aspects of the WJP submission.

Reduction of remand detainee population
Mr Victor Nkomo had been the longest serving remand detainee who the WJP had been assisting over the last eight years, as he awaited the conclusion of his trial. With the introduction of section 49G of the Correctional Matters Amendment Act, WJP had thought Mr Nkomo’s case, with similar others, would be actually heard. However the presiding judge had said that he was unaware of such a section. In the second submission from Mr Nkomo’s lawyers on why it was in the interest of justice to conclude his case, the judge dismissed that case in minutes.

Torture
Although the new White Paper had closed one of the gaps that allowed that kind of abuse - the booking out of a remand detainee must now be approved by the National Commissioner of DCS, legislated in Section 49F – their primary concern was the action (or lack thereof) that was taken by DCS when responding to complaints of that nature.

NICRO submission
Ms Venessa Padayachee, NICRO Advocacy and Lobby Manager, noted as a major challenge the over-use of remand detention. According to the Open Society Justice Initiative, the arbitrary and excessive use of pre-trial detention is said to be the most over-looked human rights crisis world-wide. In South Africa there had been instances of cases of individuals having awaited trial for over seven years. Even though the new White Paper allows for your case after two years of on remand detention to be reviewed, that is still an injustice. Solutions such as electronic tagging, and legislation that allows the DCS to follow-up remand cases reaching two years, had resulted in a slight reduction in remand numbers. NICRO commended the DCS on their efforts towards creating alternatives for inmates.

Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative (CSPRI) submission
Prof Lukas Muntingh, CSPRI Project Coordinator, said that CSPRI believed that combining the portfolios of Justice and Correctional Services had the potential to resolve a lot of the longstanding challenges that had been plaguing DCS for the past 20 years. Although, on the other hand, civil society was concerned that that combination would make DCS and JICS not receive the necessary attention they each required. However, CSPRI regarded it as a new opportunity to explore cooperation with both institutions.

SIU Investigation
On 16 November 2009 the Portfolio Committee was briefed by the SIU on a number of investigations undertaken in DCS. Of particular importance were the high value contracts given to a particular group of companies which implicated a number of senior DCS officials in corruption. The SIU had completed its investigation and handed the docket over to the NPA. As far as could be established, the prosecution of the implicated officials and private sector individuals had not yet commenced. CSPRI recommended that the Committee called on the NPA to brief it on the reason for the delays and what the plans are to commence with a prosecution.

A key concern for CSPRI was the extent and scope of human rights violations occurring at DCS. There was a need for an effective investigation mechanism to address that and to prevent further assaults.

Sonke Gender Justice (SGJ) submission
Mr Marlise Richter, SGJ Policy Development & Advocacy Coordinator, noted in March 2013, the Policy Framework to Address the Sexual Abuse of Inmates in the DCS facilities (the 'Sexual Assault Policy Framework') was adopted. Yet the current DCS Annual Report did not refer to the Sexual Assault Policy Framework under ‘Key policy developments and legislative changes’ and no data was provided on progress with that policy’s implementation.

No Sexual Assault Statistics included
JICS reported 10 complaints of sexual assault in its 2013/14 Annual Report. However, DCS only indicated that it incurred R 1 800 000 in contingent liabilities for rape during the year. The data provided by JICS disaggregated statistics on sexual violence as separate from the general assault category. DCS did not do that. Sonke called on DCS to collect and disaggregate its assault statistics to reflect sexual assault data.

Screening Tool for Vulnerability to Sexual Abuse
A screening tool for this had yet to be developed. Sonke urged DCS that a tool be developed and implemented in line with the Sexual Assault Policy Framework, and extended an offer of support in this process.

Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) submission
Ms Lieve van Leeuw, TAC Researcher, said the health care system under Correctional Services was far from “adequate” and riddled with inefficiencies and obstacles that prevented inmates from accessing it. The need to ensure that this basic right was guaranteed was important. The prevalence of TB was estimated to be between three to seven times higher in prisons than in the general population. Sufficient access to healthcare services was an essential condition to prevent prisons from becoming breeding grounds for infectious diseases. For a true reflection of the progress made in curbing the TB epidemic, it was essential to know the following numbers for both sentenced and remand detainees:
• The number of detainees that had been tested for TB
• The number of detainees that tested positive for TB
• The number of detainees initiated on TB treatment
• The number of TB cases that were successfully treated.

Discussion
Ms G Breytenbach (DA) asked Prof Muntingh to provide the Committee with more details on the number of cases that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had declined to investigate.
 
Mr V Smith (ANC) suggested that the Committee needed to move on and get to the DCS presentation of its annual report as the submissions had simply been to empower the Committee for the interaction it would have with DCS.

The Chairperson allowed the remaining stakeholders to present their submissions.

Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) submission
Mr Umesh Raga, JICS National Manager; Legal Services, noted that the Inspecting judge had been delayed but was on his way. It was trite to say the JICS was inextricably linked to DCS in terms of its budget and administrative support. JICS fell under the Administration programme in the DCS, but what JICS did not find in the Annual Report, and was uncertain of as it did not sit in the DCS budget committee, was whether there was a possibility that JICS infrastructure and expenses could be ring-fenced in the DCS Annual Report. What was important for the Committee and perhaps National Treasury was to look at JICS as a separate component of DCS in terms of its needs and expenses. The fact that JICS was still under the Administration programme made it very difficult for it to interact with the DCS regarding the new JICS structure as signed by the Minister of DCS. That structure had been in the possession of DCS for the past two years after all the administrative processes before and after approval. One of those anomalies with the DCS and JICS was that JICS was not designated a separate entity of DCS and also ring-fenced. Certainly that created the challenges with Human Resources (HR) and office location around the country as the Inspecting Judge generally said that he was a squatter in the offices of the Department of Public Works (DPW) in Durban.

JICS was discussing with DCS but those discussions were not at the level of the budgetary allocation most of the time and therefore JICS took what it was given. JICS noted that the Administration programme at DCS had 961 funded but vacant posts. JICS analysis would then be how long those posts had been funded, why they were vacant, had advertisements been placed and eventually how the effect of those posts directly impacted on JICS allocation-wise. The Committee would certainly need to raise some of these questions with DCS.

Incarceration
JICS had adopted a categorisation disaggregation on assaults, separating assaults involving officials, inmate on inmate violence, sexual assault and the new provisions for the Combating of Torture Act. There were other areas that JICS felt it needed to focus on when interacting with DCS. These JICS areas of focus, in its assistance of DCS, needed substantive reading from a measuring perspective.

Gang related violence
JICS had conducted 91 inspections around the country in 2013/14. JICS was not asking for a bloated budget but it was currently able to do only as much as its resources allowed. For instance the Gauteng inspector had to do that province with Limpopo and the North West. That individual covered 62 centres alone although he was employed on contract. The Committee needed to seriously attend to such an issue when dealing with the JICS allocation and how much it actually could do with such ratios.

Unnatural Deaths
Indeed, there was an anomaly between the DCS and JICS reported numbers for unnatural deaths. The JICS draft of what had been published in the DCS Annual Report had been submitted to DCS sometime ago. Moreover a reminder had been sent to the DCS that if the JICS figures did not correlate with DCS then DCS needed to indicate this to JICS. There had been no argument from DCS over those figures. Even in the quarterly reports, JICS had submitted those very figures before the publication of the Annual Report. At the ground level with the Independent Correctional Centre Visitors (ICCVs), DCS would report a death to JICS and JICS would go through a verification process via the ICCC on the ground.

Another anomaly was with suicides where JICS had indicated 25 and DCS had indicated 21.

Rehabilitation
For JICS, rehabilitation started from admission with a correctional sentence plan. That sentence plan was effective only if the journey of that inmate was continually measured and that was where the case management committee became very important. Where that committee had a backlog, the ripple effect of being considered for parole was quite apparent. For instance, part of the reasons for the riots in prisons such as Mangaung Prison resulted from case management backlogs coupled with inmates whom had served their time in a maximum category centre that were ready to be reclassified but where still being held in a maximum centre.

Care and Social Integration
Healthcare was a broad generic category. JICS was particularly concerned with State President patients as alluded to by the Inspecting Judge previously. Mental health was worthy of an indicator in terms of how many inmates there were and the different categorises of such illness amongst inmates.

Public Servants Association (PSA) submission
Mr Pierre Snyman, PSA Chairperson, presented the submission.

Post Establishment
Since 2005 DCS had canvassed for a seven-day work week to render services of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 365 days in a year. In 2009 DCS and the then majority unions in the General Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council agreed to the 7 day establishment concept. DCS is on record, and reported to the Portfolio Committee at various times after the signing of GPSSBC Resolution 21 of 2009, that it is in need of 18 000 new employees to be added to the post establishment to successfully introduce and manage the seven day establishment. In 2009 there were 46 306 approved, funded posts on the DCS post establishment. It was increased with 574 posts the following year. In 2013 the Department reported a decrease of 2 646 on the approved and funded post establishment if measured against the 2009 establishment. The Department was in need of 18 000 posts, over and above the 46 306 posts of 2009 but instead of increasing the funded posts to cater for the seven day establishment, Treasury had cut the post establishment by 2 646 posts. PSA had raised serious concerns with the employer about this understaffed establishment and had reported this situation numerous times before the Portfolio Committee.

Sick Leave
The number of sick leave days taken has more than doubled to 462 507 over the past 10 years.

The PSA pleaded with the Portfolio Committee to ensure correctional officials are working in safe and well-staffed facilities. The PSA acknowledges the change in attitude that came with the acting National Commissioner during his period of acting in 2013/14 and it was looking forward to strengthening the relationship between the two institutions.

Discussion
Mr J Selfe (DA) asked for clarity on the vastly different numbers for the DCS post establishment, ranging between 44 234 and the 42 057 which Mr Snyman had just reported. Which figure was the Committee supposed to work with?

Mr Snyman replied that the DCS could give more clarity but he had reported the 44 234 which he believed was the funded posts establishment even though there were only 42 057 currently filled posts in the DCS.

Mr Teboho Mokoena, Chief Deputy Commissioner (CDC), Human Resources, said that the total establishment was 42 006. However, in terms of the reporting required by Treasury, the DCS had to include those posts that had been created over and above the funded establishment. Those numbered 2228, which then made the figure 44 234.

Mr Selfe suggested that the tables in the Annual Report needed to be labelled as such going forward, seeing that the difference was between funded and unfunded posts.

Mr Mokoena agreed, saying that the DCS had engaged Treasury over such reporting. However, Treasury regulations still stipulated that the tables be reported as they currently were.

DCS Audit Committee response
Mr Lehlohonolo Majake, DCS Audit Committee Chairperson, said that the Audit Committee was noting all the comments and inputs made at the meeting but most important was the Annual Report. Mr Mathabatha’s critique was appreciated and the Audit Committee would certainly look into the inputs he had made for the upcoming financial year and how those could be incorporated. Mr Majake would outline what the correct figures were in the Annual Report so that the DCS could be measured against those. In terms of JICS, the Audit Committee would have to extend its internal audit scope to ensure that JICS was covered. The inconsistencies around the figures would need alignment, as well as dealing with fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and the cases of irregular expenditure would need to be addressed.

DCS responses to stakeholder submissions and Committee inputs
Mr Zachariah Modise, Acting DCS National Commissioner, thanked the stakeholders and Committee for the inputs. The DCS had noted all the comments from its stakeholders. He noted that the Chief Deputy Commissioner: Incarcerations and Corrections, Mr James Smalberger, had returned to Pretoria to speak on behalf of the DCS during the sentencing phase of the Oscar Pistorius trial to clarify the statements of a DCS official and a service provider. The current DCS team understood that there was a process in ensuring that the Office of the Inspecting Judge at JICS would be seen in the same light as the Independent Police Investigating Directorate (IPID). DCS was more than prepared in this regard, having already started some work with the IPID and it hoped to rope in the JICS officials to start amending the legislation. The process of amending that legislation was a process that DCS had to undertake with JICS, Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA). The DCS was hoping to have a report ready for the Deputy Minister, Mr Thabang Makwetla, as well as Minister Michael Masutha, for them to apply their minds. After which the process would be consultative to include the Committee and stakeholders in the DCS environment. Certainly there was no obstacle in principle in having JICS as independent from DCS, with its own establishment and budget. This was already at the ministerial level where Minister Masutha would be deciding on the way forward.

The establishment that had been approved by former Minister Sbusiso Ndebele had to undergo a bidding process. The DCS had already completed its business case which would be submitted to Treasury and DPSA for those departments to approve and fund that new establishment since DCS could not fund that establishment without having engaged those two departments.

Regarding leadership and stability in the DCS, that concerned every one right up to the Minister and his Deputy. The Minister with his counterparts had already completed a shortlist of the three senior positions: the National Commissioner, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the CDC: Strategic Management. DCS was waiting to complete the interviews, after which it was hoping to submit a memorandum to Cabinet for approval.

More important was addressing the understanding and misunderstanding on how DCS reported assaults and deaths at correctional facilities. Seeing that a lot had been said about the inconsistent figures between the JICS and the DCS Annual Reports. Any death occurring at a correctional facility was unnatural unless the post-mortem indicated otherwise. That was why all deaths at correctional facilities were subject to a post-mortem. An inquest would also sometimes be held to establish the cause of death, which was why the DCS numbers would never be similar to the JICS numbers. In terms of unnatural deaths, JICS had numbers which the DCS as well as medical practitioners who had done the post-mortem, and inquest when necessary, had afterwards decided that a particular death had been natural.

Regarding assaults, the DCS reported all such instances to the South African Police Service (SAPS) up until the NPA had decided that there was no assault or there was no basis for a case. Therefore in the DCS Annual Report, there would be more assaults than in JICS. Assaults were recorded in the DCS register as reported right up until the NPA decided there was no case, whereupon they would be then removed from the register.

There was a procedure that had to be followed by all DCS officials for sexual assaults in DCS facilities. Once a report had been made, DCS had to ensure that that procedure was complied with. The challenge was that DCS officials dealt with complaints and requests from offenders from morning to noon daily. These type of reports were a challenge because DCS had decided that all the vulnerable groups such as the elderly, juveniles, females and people with disabilities needed special care in accordance with the 2005 White Paper. Those special categories had to be kept separate where a professional nurse had to interview some of those offenders daily. The challenge was that some cases were not reported and others were not observed. The DCS was confident that with the Independent Correctional Centre Visitors body which had the opportunity to speak with offenders freely without the presence of DCS officials, that when those cases of sexual assaults were uncovered, then those offenders would be given the opportunity to lay criminal charges and to receive treatment in DCS facilities.
 
The DCS had a great challenge with mental health patients that the South African courts of law had referred to it for incarceration. It was the DCS understanding that that this group of offenders had to be kept separately from other offenders because of its vulnerabilities. Though the principal approach of DCS was that mental patients be kept in DCS hospitals for treatment purposes. However, most of those patients were not referred to institutions that could provide them with the necessary observation and medical treatment. Valkenberg and Weskoppies were overcrowded so DCS offenders were then listed so that as and when space was available, they would then be referred.

The DCS was on a transformation agenda which was initiated when the new Act of 1998 had been approved by Parliament. When the 2005 White Paper on Correctional Services was approved by Parliament that year, it was only then that DCS had seriously looked at its approach to correctional services and also its facilities which stakeholders had to also consider when evaluating the DCS’s ability to deliver correctional and rehabilitative programmes in those constraining environments. This was especially the case with skills development as all the DCS institutions except for a few had been built 100 years ago and therefore did not lend themselves to the programmes of correction, rehabilitation and skills development. The DCS then relied on stakeholders to come with innovative ideas on structures it could put up where it could ensure the roll out of its programmes for offenders.

In the big metropolitan areas of SA, the DCS had severe overcrowding of remand detainees which was resultant of multiple courts being serviced by one correctional facility in the metro. Certainly the DCS could not build itself out of overcrowding but the situation in those metros was such that unless new structures were built there, the DCS would never deal with overcrowding decisively.

Ms Britta Rotmann, CDC: Remand Detention, responded to the issues raised about detainees. Firstly there was an apparent lack of awareness amongst the judiciary of some of the sections of SA’s legislation specifically sections 63A and 49G. The DCS had noted and were grateful for stakeholder inputs in that regard. It did engage with the judicial bodies to meet those challenges. For instance, the DCS had interacted quite frequently with the South African Judicial Educational Institute (SAJEI) in terms of training to be provided to magistrates to be able to deal with those new sections of the law. Similarly with the Magistrates Commission and also the National Executive Committee (NEC) chaired by the Chief Justice of SA, Mogoeng Mogoeng and the provincial committees on issues of case rolls. DCS was looking at the impact of 49G where there had been some reduction in the numbers of long awaiting trial detainees from around 2200 to approximately 1800 currently where it had plateaued. Given that DCS was monitoring the section it was able to develop very specific interventions for instance, within the Criminal Justice Review (CJR) where DCS reported on a monthly basis on its top 20 longest awaiting trial detainees. The CJR Committee was constituted by Legal Aid SA, the NPA, the DJ&CS, and SAPS where the reasons for the long outstanding trials were interrogated. In relation to Victor Nkomo mentioned by the Wits Justice Project, he had been amongst a number of accused who through constant changes of legal representation contributed to the length of his trial.

Regarding the appropriate implementation of new legislation, the white papers as well as the new Act were constantly monitored in remand detention. The senior management in the regions were constantly consulting with the policies and procedures of remand detention to ensure that implementation of new legislation was properly done.

The DCS acknowledged the challenge with chronic medication amongst remand detainees. It was a challenge because of such large numbers of offenders coming in and out the very next day. The DCS was looking at the Integrated Justice System (IJS) and how that system would work across all departments. Remand detention was looking at ensuring that that information was pushed through from SAPS to the DCS so as to ensure proper management of chronic medication.

The Combating and Prevention of Torture Act should have been mentioned in the DCS Annual Report as the DCS had done training of officials on that. The DCS could provide the Committee with the details on the type of training there had been and where it had occurred. Mr McCallum’s case at the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) and the findings from that had been completed without any input from the SA Government. It had to be proven that all channels and remedies had been exhausted locally before going to that commission. Mr McCallum had alleged that he would have had to apply for condonation as he had been late with his claim. Seeing that that would not have been allowed, he had exhausted his internal remedies when in fact he was engaged in litigation with DCS as condonation had been applied for and granted by the DCS. It was currently looking at engaging those UN structures so that it could present the views of the SA government.

On the issue of children in remand detention, DCS was looking at very low numbers. On average there were approximately 130 remand detainee children at DCS. The challenge was that those children had to be brought to court every two weeks. That made it difficult for DCS to place them in facilities where schooling could be accessed and it was not anticipating having them in their facilities for very long. The main aim with children in remand detention was looking at why they were not accommodated within the Department of Social Development (DSD). The DCS did participate in the intersectoral committee on justice and interacted regularly with DSD to ensure that children were not accommodated within Correctional Services.
The DCS acknowledged that there was a challenge in the management of its predetermined objectives, however, that was receiving the necessary attention.

Mr Terence Raseroka, Acting CDC: Strategic Management, read out the audit findings on predetermined objectives. The identified challenge for the year under review was that there were insufficient skills levels for those people who were supposed to compile performance information. There was lack of understanding of operational plans and reporting at a centre level. There were issues about the management of the portfolio of evidence as required. Based on those identified challenges, the DCS had started taking action in terms of going to the centre level and consulting with those officials charged with compiling performance information and providing capacity development programmes. That would continue right through the financial year under review so as to get the reporting structures aligned as required by Treasury for the following financial year.

The concern raised about the number of people leaving the DCS was acknowledged but the increase in those exits had been very recent. That government exodus phenomenon was a function of the unfortunate rumours that government had tried without success to quell about the pending implosion of the state pension fund. The feedback from employee resignation forms was that that had been the reason for the exit from state employment.

The shortage of critical and scarce skills remained a challenge for government as a whole. In SA there were currently 16 740 social workers nationally. That was a 77% shortage of social workers as reported by Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini. To administer the Children’s Act the country needed 66 000 social workers, 743 for the Older Persons Act, 1 426 for the Treatment of Substance Abuse Act. Compounding the problem around social workers was the remuneration of such professionals as the medium pay for social workers was around R200 000. That was not enough to attract the skill there and the broader discussion amongst state departments was that it was not helpful for one department to poach from another because all that did was to rob Peter to pay Paul. The collective approach needed there was for state departments to go to one agency, which was DSD which would then provide services to all government departments.

The DCS had 379 vacancies on the critical and scarce skills category and it had recently run national advertisements for the filling of those posts. It was hoping to set up panels nationally that would drive that process on an urgent basis whilst also thinking about recreating an auxiliary social work stream as a short term remedy. The registered 16 740 social workers did not consider that some of those individuals may be registered but had since left the practice.
The filling of Senior Management Service (SMS) positions had selection panels signed off by the National Commissioner, which would be going on a project basis to tackle all those vacancies. The DCS had realised that the option of decentralising recruitment helped in some ways regionally whereby nationally there was need for an intervention.

The DCS had been inundated with employee relations challenges at Kutama Sinthumule private prison. Unfortunately that would appear as it did in the media as DCS failing to manage employee relations. Of course when the reporting was like that, it ignored the fact that there was a concession contract with private contractors that were paid and were responsible for managing those facilities. That of course could result in DCS having to essentially invoke section 112 as had happened in Mangaung with huge costs to the DCS as it was a temporary measure with big implications for the staff that DCS would be moving from centres like St. Albans to ensure that there was order and stability in places like Mangaung. As far as Mangaung was concerned, the DCS had registered some progress as 342 people had been dismissed for a period of 10 months where the DCS had facilitated a discussion between G4S and Popcru which resulted in those people being brought back on terms that the Committee would be provided in written form. After that had happened there had been a challenge that had emerged at Kutama Sinthumule which also required DCS attention.

The Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) challenge was part of the work of the Ministerial task team. The DCS had previously reported to the Committee that it needed assistance as the nature of the challenge was transversal. The dispute required the involvement of Treasury and DPSA on the interpretation of clause 11 of the agreement in respect of when did one recognise experience. Was it from the pre-OSD salary scales or from the implementation of the new, revised OSD salary scale? The DCS had been involved in ongoing discussions with DPSA to see if that dispute could not be resolved out of court. DCS certainly accepted that the reason people were leaving the DCS was the lack of implementation of the second phase of OSD. However, as DCS it had principally decided that it would implement the second phase of OSD, whilst very cognisant that other state departments had to come on board as well. Similarly this applied to employment equity challenges, for instance with matters that had been filed by Solidarity. It could be DCS or SAPS that appeared in the court papers but DCS needed assistance from the Department of Labour (DoL) and all other line departments in government as what DCS was implementing was a government policy.

Mr Joey Coetzee, DCS CDC: Education, reflected on why the education target had not been achieved and DCS capacity to deliver education within Correctional Services. In the main, the reasons behind the non-achievement of the education target were given in the Annual Report. The reporting of statistics for participation in education had partly been the reason that the figures reflected lower as some of the regions had not included those offenders that had been totally illiterate but had participated in the DCS literacy program. That had been refined, and the second reason was that there were situations were offenders would rather choose to go to areas where there would be a work stipend in the production workshop. DCS had then decided on a ‘punitive incentive’ – an offender could not go to a production workshop to work there and earn money if that offender did not have a certain educational qualification. There had been an increase in those participating in the educational programme since that punitive incentive. A compulsory education task team had been set up which was still looking at the legality of compelling offenders to participate in the educational programme. The SA Schools Act had been used to compel offenders of school-going age to do the educational programme.

On the capacity to deliver on education within Correctional Services, DCS had a full time component with qualified educators. There were currently 558 posts available of which 479 were filled. The vacancy total was 79 but DCS also used sessional workers to complement the staff component. Mr Coetzee had just returned from a correctional centre where external role players had assisted DCS with a digital library. That could also assist DCS in delivering its educational programmes where it could have the complete curriculum pre-recorded and broadcast with one teacher dealing with five or six classrooms. DCS also had a working relationship with the Departments of Basic Education (DBE) and Higher Education (DHE) where some of the Further Education and Training colleges (FETs) offered the offenders its educational programmes directly.

Ms Pumla Mathibela, Acting CDC: Social Reintegration, said that so far DCS enjoyed partnerships with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) including NICRO in the form of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and service level agreements. NICRO had also proposed that DCS should look at the criminal justice system more broadly instead of the ad hoc restorative justice. Minister Masutha had directed that restorative justice be elevated to a level where DCS would establish its own database for victims so that the victims of crime could be traced at earlier stages. Moreover the Minister had encouraged DCS to work with other state departments (DOJ, SAPS, DSD) and everyone who could assist in ensuring that victims of crime participate at a very early stage in restorative justice.

Ms Nontsikelelo Jolingana, DCS Chief Operating Officer, spoke on the challenge DCS was facing in recruiting doctors and other health professionals. It was true that DCS had a shortage of fulltime doctors, but DCS did employ session doctors to mitigate that shortage in some correctional facilities. Moreover DCS management had been discussing session work for other health professionals so that it could improve on the services it was rendering. On HIV/AIDS, DCS had exceeded its target for voluntary testing and counselling (VCT) and for the number of people that had been put on antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment. DCS needed the CD4 count results of HIV/AIDS infected persons before the offer of treatment. The issue about the inmate percentages with CD4 count results was certainly something DCS would have to follow up and report. In the management of TB, DCS had been given six gene expert missions that would assist it with improving the management of TB as now DCS could do early screening and detection so that it could treat people accordingly. The challenges of overcrowding were quite real and exposed people but the Department of Health (DoH) intervention would assist DCS in managing TB better in correctional facilities.

The National Commissioner continued that what Labour was raising with DCS consistently was that it needed to increase its post establishment. DCS had had challenges over the past few years in filling vacancies and as a result once the decision had been taken that establishments needed to be cut, the DCS establishment had decreased. However, the current management and the Ministry were looking at engaging DPSA and Treasury as it was true DCS needed more warm bodies in its facilities. The sooner the country resolved the shift pattern with the two labour movements operating in DCS sphere, that would assist DCS a great deal, as that challenge had been ongoing. DCS believed that by  end October 2014 that shift pattern had to be resolved for personnel security and safety between offenders and officials due to the few people involved in the direct supervision of offenders at overcrowded institutions. It happened from time to time that DCS would be challenged by gangs wanting to take over the running of facilities. DCS had undertaken serious interventions in terms of safety and security, particularly at St. Albans. DCS had dispatched an Emergency Support Team (EST) that had been the same one that had primarily done work at Mangaung. Mr Modise had worked with that team and could assure the Committee and the stakeholders present that not a single offender had been assaulted by an official. All that had been done in Mangaung was to put the entire facility on lock down. That meant offenders would stay behind bars for a given period of time while being given the necessary exercise, medical treatment and being fed. Some offenders, due to being gang leaders, took chances by attacking other offenders and officials. It was only then that it became necessary to use force according to the law and that was why offenders had started being segregated. Others would be mechanically restrained because they would inflict pain upon themselves and say they had been assaulted by officials. DCS had deployed senior officials at St. Albans and that would be the thread in any of its facilities where it found that offenders were hell-bent on ensuring that there was anarchy in DCS facilities.

DCS agreed that the ESTs had instances where they needed to be educated in how they were supposed to do their work without contravening the law and the human rights of offenders. Although that had been done around the country, DCS still saw the need to further capacitate those ESTs.

There were huge numbers of juvenile offenders coming into DCS facilities where elderly offenders were becoming increasingly less. DCS was by law not allowed to admit persons without a warrant, which was issued by a court of law. Therefore all offenders referred to DCS had been through a judicial process which would have determined where they would be admitted. Therefore the Committee and stakeholders had to understand the DCS position in that if a person had been referred to a correctional facility, it had to admit that person. However, it had to ensure that that person was incarcerated in conditions that were humane. Looking at the Cape Town and Johannesburg metros, one found that because of drug abuse most of these juveniles would have committed horrendous crimes such as murder and rape. When that person appeared in a court of law, depending on the age of the perpetrator, magistrates had to apply their mind to decide that that person could not be sent to a place of safety but had to be incarcerated in a correctional facility. It was not a given that juveniles were always sent to a correctional facility as there was a due process that needed to be followed to determine a suitable place for the incarceration of such a juvenile.

The two private correctional facilities had had serious industrial action where DCS was committed to ensuring that employee relations were done in a manner that was in line with the laws of the country. It was true that the management of those two private facilities were sometimes very difficult to work with and the National Commissioner had charged Mr Mokoena and the CDC of Legal Services to go and bring some sensibility to both the employers and employees, as the situation at those prisons had become untenable. Officials were refusing offenders services such as providing food and medical treatment. In those instances DCS had to be proactive in ensuring that uncontrollable situations were avoided.

Mr Selfe said that the Committee would probably engage more deeply once DCS had delivered its own presentation. Mr Modise had used the age of the facilities as the reason for certain rehabilitative actions not taking place. It was true that Pretoria Central had been built in1903. It was equally true that Grootvlei was built around 1986/7, Malmesbury had been built in 1997 and Goodwood in 1998. Therefore DCS facilities were not uniformly old, what was problematic about them was that even in the old facilities, like Pretoria Central where there was a production workshop or Malmesbury which was new and had a production workshop, those workshops were not being utilized fully. If DCS were to start talking about putting people to work, skilling and rehabilitating them, then the discussion had to address the use of the facility instead of its age. Almost in all the facilities, the situation was similar. For instance, if one were to go to the Drakenstein on a Friday morning one would find the facility empty as staff would have gone home for the weekend and that was the root of the problem.

On CDC: Education Dr Coetzee’s challenge over the task team and compulsory education and its legalities, if one were to look at sections, 37, 38 and 40 of the Correctional Services Act (reading of those three sections together), there was absolutely no reason DCS could not compel someone to attend training, skilling, education or whatever one wanted to do with that person. One would actually find there was an obligation on the inmate to undergo skills and various educational programmes.

Mr Selfe would have hoped that somewhere along the line in the DCS response that it would have dealt with the Combating of Torture Act and what steps it was specifically taking. What he had missed from DCS was its response to the screening tool for the vulnerability to sexual abuse and why that had not yet been developed, or why it had not been applied, if it had been developed.

Mr Smith said that Popcru had lamented the fact that HR services had been outsourced when DCS could be doing that internally. Mr Mokoena had replied that there were dedicated HR task teams. The question then was which was which? When one looked at the Annual Report, it stated loosely that recruitment had become problematic. Activities to be outsourced included placement of advertisements, the response handling thereof, the compilation of the gross list and the preliminary short listing. Mr Smith would have assumed that all those were HR matters for starters, but the Annual Report was saying outsourcing when Mr Mokoena was saying there was a dedicated team. Some clarity would be appreciated there. How could DCS outsource such basic things? Was HR being outsourced or was it internal?

He was concerned with the integrity of the information that the Committee was given. Mr Modise had said that the DCS Annual Report figures of unnatural deaths “would always be different” from the JICS report figures. For a matter as sensitive as unnatural deaths in SA prisons, the state could not have a situation where there were conflicting figures for the same target. Mr Modise or JICS should explain to the Committee which figures where the correct ones and if the status quo would remain two different figures. Did both institutions understand the implications for ordinary users of that information, as those were public documents.

The Chairperson added that when DCS responded could it also speak to the effect of the instability at DCS with senior officials continually in an acting position. How could the Committee hold people responsible and accountable as people were coming and going?

Mr Mokoena, CDC: Human Resources, replied that when he had been referring to task teams he had been specifically talking to two areas, namely SMS vacancies from director and above which was an internal matter DCS would be handling itself, and the other was relating to critical and scarce skills vacancies such as nurses, psychologists, pharmacists and social workers. Despite the fact that DCS had decentralised the filling of positions in the regions, it still needed a national intervention, as those were critical skills for it to tackle on a national basis. That was the difference in what had been outsourced and what had remained internal within DCS. As far as outsourcing was concerned, the only remaining outsourced function was the placement of the advertisements. Even then, DCS had realised that there were a number of challenges in that strategy. One was that the recruitment agency was looking to save costs with DCS adverts then somehow shrinking and factual inaccuracies within the advert. Honestly, that strategy had become redundant, as there was no logic behind it anymore. To ensure that DCS remained in control of advert content and ensure that it curbed costs, it was speaking directly to the media houses. As reflected in the Annual Report and previously reported on, DCS was facing a challenge as far as mass recruitment was concerned. It could be a function of the unemployment scenario in the country but on average there were close to 500 people applying for a single position. The DCS system was manual, with no e-recruitment to screen applications on line. DCS was legally bound to go through each and every application. DCS then overran its own timelines for the filling of that position. Under consideration was sourcing an e-recruitment capacity. Moreover DCS had to consider that when looking for specialists, executives or SMS people, would it not be useful for DCS to employ placement agencies to source those people. That was where executive search agencies would be able to assist. As it was DPSA had outsourced competency assessments. Currently eight service providers had been sourced nationally by DPSA. When DCS recruited SMS people, after interviews, those candidates would still have to do that assessment with those service providers. That did not mean that the entire HR value chain had been outsourced. For instance when talking about Integrated Employee Health and Wellbeing, the nature of that value chain meant that there were certain things that one would not be able to do internally. One might need to outsource services for both ethical and capacity considerations. With counselling, employees might feel awkward having to confide to a colleague about matrimonial or alcohol related challenges. Those were just general challenges within HR. What that required was proper oversight such that there were service level agreements in place to ensure that those contracts were effectively managed.

DCS took note that despite the fact that the letter an acting official was given which said that the official was accorded full rights and responsibilities, the reality was that there was a tendency on the part of the acting appointee not to really fully absorb the role. Since their sense was that possibly they would not be permanently appointed in the future. The other challenge was on the part of the people the appointees would be reporting to since that appointee was now a peer. There was that dynamic challenge of having to manage and oversee that peer. In an ideal environment it was not advisable to have acting officials, but in the real world people left on short notice or fell ill which made acting officials a necessity.

Ms C Pilane-Majake (ANC) said she realised that DCS had received a qualified opinion from AGSA for 2013/14 with emphasis on matters such as movable assets which had been a recurring finding. She asked DCS to speak to that in the afternoon session as the Committee would want to ensure that moving forward, such was corrected. Additionally she asked DCS to explain why its reintegration and rehabilitation budget continued to be so low compared to the incarceration budget. There was a lot of money that went to personnel, approximately R12 billion with 15 top management and 150 senior managers. DCS had to justify that as well and speak to how much money specifically went towards management. In terms of security, she referred to the CCTVs that the stakeholders had spoken about to mitigate sexual abuse and gangsterism in prisons. The state should see to what extent it would it be in a position to access such a system that would quickly manage to alleviate the pressure on vulnerable groups.

The Committee had previously instructed DCS to evaluate to what extent it could actually start owning facilities instead of leasing the land and buildings as the Annual Report indicated that the leases amounted to approximately R1.7 billion. Could DCS comment on how it would be in a position to start auditing JICS financial statements as a chunk of money was given to JICS?

The Chairperson added that the amount paid for leases translated to buying the buildings 20 or 50 times more than their value. Why was it that DCS simply could not buy the buildings instead of leasing them? Leasing to the state seemed to be big business. Why could government not own property for its own utility, seeing that it would always exist?

Afternoon session
Ms Pilane-Majake acted as Chairperson as Mr Motshekga was temporarily indisposed. She allowed DCS to respond to the questions that had been put to it in the morning session.

Mr Modise said that the Acting CFO would reply to questions pertaining to the budget and finances.

Ms Nandi Mareka, Acting CFO, DCS, said that indeed DCS was a labour intensive department which was why more than 60% of DCS budget went to compensation of employees. Over the years there had been strides to decrease the gap between compensation allocation and non-compensation of an employee’s allocations. The estimates of national expenditure (ENE) normally provided the public with an analysis of the compensation of employees, the number of employees, and how much they were paid per programme.

On the allocation for the incarceration programme compared to reintegration or rehabilitation programme, if one looked at incarceration there were components where employees were rendering rehabilitation programmes but this was captured under the incarceration programme. They played dual roles and so it was not easy to separate these because they were providing a custodial service as well. DCS had reviewed its programme structure which had occurred two years ago and was approved by the Treasury. The intention was to collapse those rehabilitative sub-programmes under the incarceration programme and combine them with the rehabilitative programme. So that when reporting, DCS would be comprehensive in saying that the state was investing so much on corrections and on rehabilitation programmes. That, however, was to be an ongoing process which would not be 100% efficient initially. So if an official daily was spending five hours doing correctional programmes, three hours doing restorative justice and another two hours doing custodial services then there would be a need for a system that would divide the component salaries of that one individual into each different programme. DCS was not merely resigned to leave that matter as it was as it had already done a desktop exercise in that regard. DCS has compared itself with international DCS in countries such as Australia where it could remodel itself along such programme structures – of course contextualising that for SA.

There was a component in the social reintegration programme which spoke to the management of parole boards and their budget. Looking at how DCS was configured, parole administration was also sitting under incarceration. In the review, DCS was considering that even at a sub-programme level what was it that could be put together which would speak to custodial as well as care services of inmates which were currently not rehabilitation, and to begin to repackage that. All of that would improve and reconfigure DCS by the 2016 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) meaning all that work would start by 2015. Overall the compensation budget would not decrease but at a programme level, services rendered would be realigned to clean up the corrections challenge under Programme 2. There was a big component of facilities sub-programme sitting under incarceration which were accommodation charges being paid over to DPW for maintenance of DCS facilities and the construction of new buildings whereas previously facilities had been a separate programme on its own. Under Administration there was also another big component for property management which then had been removed from Administration to Incarceration with the endorsement of Treasury. That process of realigning was ongoing during the MTEF.

More challenging was the implementation of the OSD. In 2009 it had indicated that DCS would have three streams: security, rehabilitation and the social reintegration streams. The old order appointments had always been security and sending officials to DCS college regardless of their prior qualifications. Only when they were registered were prior qualifications considered. When DCS started implementing that OSD, the challenge was having defined a security official in terms of DCS standards. A social reintegration officer was defined, and the minimum standards one had to have undergone at entry level, if one was a security official. It was not easy to dissect and package the current work force to say that an official was a rehabilitation officer because they continued in that old order of being security officials. That had been a challenge. Looking at the DCS Personnel Salary (PERSAL) System most of its officials were still under Programme 2. It was easier with new appointments to apply the three streams of that OSD as DCS was aware now, when an individual applied for a particular post, what was required in terms of the Resolution.

On the R1.7 billion disclosed for leases, it was indeed for operating leases concerning the directive that departments received about services rendered by the DPW and the devolution of the budget for those services into the line function departments. DCS was post that exercise and was paying accommodation charges for occupying a correctional centre as not all government facilities belong to line function departments but to DPW. For DCS to have a Pollsmoor correctional centre, it had to pay DPW for occupying that site. The purpose of that was for DPW to maintain those state facilities.


Secondly, for the two Public Private Partnerships (PPP) facilities, Mangaung and Kutama Sinthumule, DCS was paying a fixed fee over 15 years for the construction of the facilities and the 25 years operational payment was being paid under operational leases as well. Moreover there were office rentals for DCS head, regional and community corrections (ComCor) offices across the country. Indeed it was not cost effective to be occupying so many buildings, some of which were not in a good state of repair. Some time ago DCS had engaged Treasury about this and were allocated a fee to do a feasibility study at the National head office in Pretoria where DCS had been unhappy with the outcomes thereof, and it had to start afresh. It was an agenda item between the two departments to accelerate that process where DCS would start building its own head office and thereafter move on to the regions and ComCor.

On the audit of JICS, when AGSA was auditing DCS, it also audited JICS since it was the under Administration programme. In terms of internal auditing, JICS was part of the DCS internal audit scope where the last audit had been done in 2012/13, but it had not been done in the year under review. In the newly approved JICS structure, there was a level eight post for an internal auditor. DCS had engaged JICS after the approval of that new structure, because creating an internal audit function had to be compliant with all governance issues. A level eight post could not be deemed as an internal audit competence. This had been discussed with Treasury at MTEF cluster level as certain components would have to be a shared internal audit service. Even if JICS were to become a standalone entity, it would still be advisable for JICS to share that internal audit function with another department to curb costs for government. One had to deal with cost-benefit issues.

The Acting Chairperson asked for clarity about the internal audit for 2013/14. Had there been no internal audit for both DCS and JICS?


Ms Mareka replied that DCS had an internal audit component which would not be able to extend services to all 243 facilities in one year. Therefore it did a sample of the centres on all the components of the audit.

Ms Mareka replied to the question on how much was spent on management, saying that was accounted for under the Administration programme in the Management sub-programme. For 2013/14, the expenditure was R908 million for management and that included the office of the National Commissioner, the National Council for Correctional Services (NCCS) with the greater part of that allocation going to the Government Information Technology Officer (GITO (which included allocations for hardware, development and purchase of software and any intangibles at DCS). Treasury had been running a project to standardise Programme 1 (Administration) across government so that it could be comparable across the board. Legal and Corporate Services were also catered for under that strategic management sub-programme.

On the qualified audit opinion for movable tangible assets, given the interventions that DCS had put in place it had not expected that opinion. DCS had started afresh to count assets in all 243 centres as directed by the previous Portfolio Committee and Mr Modise. That exercise had paid off, but there were management areas where even though DCS had been qualified, those areas had no findings on assets on the field management report. Ms Mareka admitted that senior managers had received the management reports and were trying to find out why AGSA had not been shown certain assets when it had been auditing. DCS had picked up that the management areas, not at the big centres, which led to the qualified opinion had leadership challenges during Operation Vukuza. During verification of assets by the Vukuza teams, managers had been on leave. DCS had finally decided to send the local managers to correct all anomalies which had been identified by Operation Vukuza. The other areas with findings were found to have stopped verifying exactly where Vukuza had stopped and had never followed through with the administrative rectifying instructions. DCS had restarted the process of physically managing the outcomes and recommendations of that Vukuza project to ensure that those ‘systemic’ flaws were indeed attended to. DCS also admitted that it was one of those issues were employees were of the view that since they were not employed for asset management, they would not be responsible and were just helping at a particular time and no further.

The Acting Chairperson interjected that because Ms Mareka had said so much could she give the Committee an opportunity to raise some points of clarity.

Mr Smith heard what Ms Mareka was saying about asset management and that it was not the big centres that had received qualified management reports. He was still concerned about the lack of accurate asset registers for more than one financial year. Moreover R85 million of unverifiable assets, regardless of whether it was coming from a smaller or bigger centre was a significant amount of money. How effective were the interventions that DCS was putting in place? That problem would not be fixed unless DCS was committing to the Committee on what it was going to do to fix the problem of internal audit.

The Acting-Chairperson reiterated Mr Smith’s sentiments and that if DCS had such a top heavy structure where people could still say they were not responsible for asset management, who were the senior managers and how were they actually appointed? If there was a risk manager for DCS, she would refuse that individual a performance bonus if there were such recurring challenges with assets. The manner in which the Annual Report was reporting on rehabilitation it looked as if there was not enough allocation for that sub-programme though it was said to be under incarceration somewhere. Moreover it had been brought to the Committee’s attention that DCS did not have the expertise for rehabilitation and reintegration. Possibly within the 157 directors, some of them had to be doctors and psychologists. Certainly DCS had to clarify what the strategy was behind the senior management structuring and functioning; where they just pen pushers? The Committee had simply noted that the JICS allocation had not been audited and it wanted a special report on the audit of that allocation - which meant the Committee was worried about both the internal and external audit component.

Mr Modise said that a number of factors had affected DCS performance. Firstly DCS risk management had not been to the standard it had been a few years ago. There still had not been a risk committee at the end of the year under review. Secondly, the DCS internal audit function had also not been up to standard. Those two areas together with the audit that the Audit Committee had had to carry out had been issues which DCS had not received support on and the understanding of what roles that committee had to fulfil. What had then happened was that DCS had recently appointed a chief audit executive and had realised that it also needed an internal audit capacity both at head office and regions. That would ensure that the advice DCS gets from its own Audit Committee together with AGSA would then be clarified and a way forward mapped out. Regarding management, DCS indeed needed to have consequences for non-compliance and poor performance. That was possibly were DCS was lacking where annually the same audit findings were recurring in terms of particular areas of management. That leadership delegation in compiling its action plan was saying it would focus firstly on whether the Audit Committee and internal audit were capacitated enough throughout the regions for the risk assessment and management framework that DCS needed to have. Also what part GITO as an enabler could play in ensuring that DCS data was retrievable? That was the commitment that DCS was making so that in its engagements with AGSA and its Audit Committee it could directly address the problems. The areas of concern had already been identified with a developed plan to address them. Certainly the concern with asset management was shared by DCS but perhaps the way DCS was addressing, possibly made it look as if DCS was not concerned.

On CCTV cameras, when Mr Smith was still chairing the Portfolio Committee, that Committee had suggested CCTVs because security lapsed during the night, when there were human rights abuses of other offenders and gang related activities. DCS had committed itself to that possible solution. That then meant certain measures had to be put in place with a business plan consultation and with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and other stakeholders in that environment, considering the human rights impacts of such a strategy. DCS was not against the idea but rather would have liked to consult both its staff and stakeholders on the issue of those cameras.

DCS being top heavy was a function of it being in transformation and it critiqued itself whilst accepting criticism from stakeholders. It accepted that its national office was quite big as well the fact that the kind of work done at regional and national offices was quite similar. DCS was looking at how it could streamline its functions at both national and regional offices to support the work at centre level where it felt there was a need for more personnel.

On unnatural deaths, DCS had indicated those in its Annual Report as that was the indicator. DCS had been trying to gather all the information from the JICS Annual Report, as it reported on all deaths in detention unnatural or otherwise. That would speak to the differences in the numbers between the two institutions and what informed that and Mr Modise committed to giving the Committee that information as soon as it was available.

The Acting Chairperson said that the Committee would allow AGSA to present but later on it would ask DCS to categorise its responses according to HR, performance indicators, facility overcrowding, remand, technology infrastructure and legislation so that the Committee could be satisfied on all its questions.

Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) briefing on DCS 2013/14 audit outcomes
Mr Musa Hlongwa, AGSA Business Executive, took the Committee through the presentation and Mr Solomon Jiyane went into detail on what the findings were according to the AGSA Committee briefing note.

Some of the points made by Mr Hlongwa were:
- Completeness of the asset register related to where AGSA went to verify the existence of an asset and could not find it. AGSA had discussed with DCS about interventions to curb the attitudes of officials about such responsibilities, as mentioned by the CFO earlier. The advice was that interventions like Operation Vukuza were creating a culture of dependence on head office. Asset management accountability had to be included in the individual performance agreements of employees based on the level of their accountability.
- Some of the performance targets were not specific, reliable or measurable.
 
Discussion
The Acting Chairperson said that DCS could not be stagnant and she was wondering to what extent the executive of DCS was aware of that situation. It was not encouraging for DCS to have an ever bigger budget allocation whilst its performance information was becoming worse and worse.

Mr Smith said he had been concerned by AGSA’s last statement that unless DCS had been afforded the opportunity to make material changes to its financials at the end of the financial year, the financial position would have been much worse than it was. Since DCS gave Treasury quarterly reports, what did AGSA’s statement mean about the integrity of those quarterly reports, if major changes had to be made at the end of the year? Mr Smith wanted AGSA’s perspective on that in-year reporting issue.
 
Mr Selfe asked why AGSA had not spoken to the findings on Information Technology (IT) as stated in the briefing note.

Mr Jiyane replied that as he had said earlier he had dealt with the key findings that had led to the qualified opinion. IT certainly was an issue that DCS needed to focus on even with GITO there.

Mr M Redelinghuys (DA) said that referring to all the presentations he could not help but express incredible concern over what was going on at DCS, although there was a real intention from the DCS delegation present to fix things. Something was very wrong and it was disempowering to hear that reliability and accuracy of information in the Annual Report was questionable with material misstatements – when the year to be reviewed next was half through. Hearing that there was something wrong with the performance targets at such a high level of reporting was worrying. One did not have a list of correctional facilities, did not have a breakdown of inmates at each prison, the capacity of each prison, the conditions in each and if there was assault, which centres had a prevalence history. All those had to be included if there was an honest attempt to define targets and measure and address them.

The Acting Chairperson wondered how DCS had planned its strategy if its targets were unmeasurable. Was there an HR management plan when there were unmeasurable targets? In future when DCS came to report it would be best to start looking at its strategic plan and its objectives so that it could break them down according to the personnel, and then indicate how it intended to achieve those objectives. Systems at the office had to speak to each other because currently it seemed that DCS had divisions that worked in silos.

Dr Motshekga said that he had been encouraged by Mr Redelinghuys saying that DCS had good intentions. He became concerned when there were too many leadership changes in a department with acting officials. No serious work could be done under such circumstances. There had to be certainty and continuity. People had to be permanently appointed. With permanent officials there could be accountability. The Committee possibly needed to ask DCS that, given the scenarios sketched, should it not go and prepare and return with a turn-around strategy and agree on timeframes for the implementation of that strategy. As it was, the DCS delegation was serious in wanting to change things, as well as the stakeholders.

Ms Mareka said that in terms of the integrity of the quarterly reports DCS submitted, it complied with section 40 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and Treasury analysed those reports where it would want clarities which DCS would do. If those quarterly reports were interrogated, the last quarter under expenditure was R47 982 million and after the AGSA audit, the only thing that had been picked up was R500 000 that DCS had paid over to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) which had not been utilized by DIRCO by the end of March. Therefore DCS had had to amend the financial statements and to disclose that as an advance payment increasing the under expenditure by R500 000 which was disclosed.
The major problem on the amendments of financial statements as identified by AGSA was not on the quarterly reports but on the accruals as they combined items that were on the system but the manual side as well. DCS had indicated that challenge to Treasury – that in a department the size of DCS – where from the centres they had to cascade up all their accruals that were outside the system, so that when AGSA audited those, it could find that the list that DCS would have received and what was prevailing after the audit was not necessarily accurate either. Adjustments to irregular expenditure were also made where the issues were that of certain people not reporting irregular expenditure and AGSA picked those up when auditing. The crux then had become whether DCS owned up to surprise irregular expenditure which had been hidden from head office. The decision then had been on discovery of such irregular or fruitless expenditure, officials should not wait for monthly reports and should rather report that immediately. Commitments also were challenging in that officials would give those in, for DCS to discover that they actually were accruals.

The Acting Chairperson said that though Ms Mareka had been explaining the challenges, DCS had to strengthen its internal controls concerning irregular expenditure.

Mr Modise said that DCS would welcome an engagement with the Committee, AGSA and its own internal audit and other assurance units to cause attitudinal changes that the leadership could own and ensure that that change would cascade down DCS to ensure accountability, as that was the main issue. Certainly the leadership was prepared to develop a turnaround strategy and it was also true that the non-filling of critical posts was the reason DCS was in that situation. Apart from regular turnover, positions at least had to be filled so that accountability was guaranteed.

Mr Selfe said that it was a generous offer by Mr Modise to return with a strategy but from his recollection DCS would be returning only in early November, and if that strategy was coming it had to be sooner. As the status quo could not be allowed to carry on. It was an ongoing struggle with the parliamentary committee structure that it never allowed interaction with DCS deep enough to get to the bottom of the problems that had been identified in the Legacy Report which were still persistent. He had been talking turnaround strategies for the past 15 years and it was now time to go beyond that to ensure action took place. He had understood from the previous meeting that DCS was awaiting G4S to return to it with information on the situation in Mangaung. That response seemed to have been sent to DCS on 31 July, where was it? Mr Selfe was concerned about the reliability of information coming from DCS.

Mr Smith said that he supported Dr Motshekga’s proposal of a turnaround strategy but his concern was that the Committee was asking officials that were acting in their current roles when they themselves were not sure whether their strategy would be owned by the new leadership. To amend the proposal slightly, Mr Smith proposed that the Committee needed to engage the political leadership and indicate the seriousness of the situation. A department could not be without a CFO and plan to do a turnaround strategy. Have no strategic manager, no national commissioner and think there could be turnaround strategy. They were non-existent because all the current officials were acting. The Minister or the Deputy had to be asked to come and give some timeframes as to when permanent officials would be appointed as it would be an injustice to the current incumbents to ask them for that strategy.

Dr Motshekga agreed with Mr Smith but argued that of the little time he had interacted with the incumbent officials, unless there would be others from heaven, there simply was no reason why they should not be permanently appointed. Therefore they should go and start on that strategy and the Committee did need to ask the political leadership why appointments were not being finalised. The next meeting would be on 29 October and the Committee needed to own that project and assist DCS, because if it were to be always prosecuting DCS, discharging officials and finding other replacements the situation would simply stagnate.

The Acting Chairperson thanked AGSA and reminded DCS to talk to those areas as instructed earlier.

Mr Modise said that DCS had issued a report to G4S as G4S had requested more information from DCS as far as the allegations were concerned. DCS was still engaging G4S and there had been no further response from G4S pertaining to the findings of DCS report, since that information had been sent. Once that had been done DCS would certainly provide the Committee and JICS with that information.

Mr Raseroka was about to take the Committee through the key areas as instructed by the Acting Chairperson. However, the Acting-Chairperson interjected saying that Mr Raseroka needed to respond to what AGSA had said about the DCS audit report.

Mr Raseroka said that DCS acknowledged that it was a challenge to manage predetermined objectives as it was a fairly new measure that AGSA was auditing, though that was not an excuse. For the past three years there had been a Strategic Plan and there had been a significant improvement in trying to position that plan to be at a strategic level, over and above being at an operational level.

DCS had been educating different levels of management about what the Treasury requirements. He noted that DCS was fairly complex as it dealt with different things at different levels from data to statistics of everything involved with DCS. The biggest challenge was capacity where people that were supposed to be doing functions like operational and strategic planning, were ill-equipped to do so. DCS had decided it would do training across the board from centre level upwards to get the standard of planning from there up to head-office level on par. The executive had been involved in intense and thorough strategic planning processes for the past two years. When AGSA came, it took the Strategic Plan and went to a centre and compared that with an operational plan where it would look at the technical indicator descriptors and ask for evidence on a particular indicator that had been part of the predetermined objectives. Sometimes the evidence was not there and those officials at the centre level would not see the challenge in that. Certainly there was that gap of understanding between planning and reporting at DCS. However DCS had for the past three weeks been at the regional level for Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West where it was consulting with managers at those centres responsible for planning. In trying to understand what was involved in planning at those centres, DCS had found that that exercise had very disappointing outcomes, as there was no understanding of plans at that level. From then on DCS had decided that training would be rolled out for all 243 centres.

The Acting Chairperson noted that on 29 October the Committee would be dealing with the HR division of DCS. Therefore it should come prepared with an HR management plan which spoke to the DCS Strategic Plan, as Mr Raseroka was admitting that the accountability measures were failing as a result of the non-functioning of the HR management plan. Most important was pulling out each objective and seeing who was responsible for the achievement of that objective. As DCS was big, there also was a need to popularise the Strategic Plan so that everyone at DCS was aware. She then instructed DCS to speak to IT performance and challenges.

Ms Nthabiseng Mosupye, DCS CDC: GITO, said that it had achieved the target for technology and information for 2013/14. The main target had been to align the key performance areas of DCS with the Integrated Justice System (IJS), which had been done. Concerning AGSA findings, DCS had an understanding that if AGSA needed DCS to migrate to a higher operating system such as SQL server 2005 there were certain systems that had been developed over the years that worked with the old version, therefore migrating to a new operating system would mean replacing those systems as well. DCS was currently working on the Integrated Inmate Management System (IIMS) as a strategy for migration of all that information from older databases. User account management as qualified by AGSA was an issue where one would be told that there were certain passwords that did not expire. That spoke to similar challenges, where systems had been developed with user IDs attached to particular passwords. Therefore if one were to expire passwords every 30 days, the older passwords would be lost and the system would become dysfunctional. Therefore certain user IDs had to be open ended, 176 of which had been embedded in the software that had been used to develop those older systems. DCS had no qualm with that security aspect, as those IDs could be monitored for where they had been used and for what transaction. Disaster Recovery Solutions (DRS) were highly dependent on the infrastructure where DCS was ensuring that back-ups were being concluded daily. The only challenge there was that DCS had not yet acquired the hardware for such a solution.
DCS had three findings that it was comfortable with managing going forward, as there was security and control around those findings.

Mr Modise said that there seemed to be some confusion amongst his team. That confusion came from understanding Dr Motshekga to have been saying DCS had to return with a turnaround strategy. If the Committee had given DCS the opportunity to present its entire performance for the year under review, DCS would have presented what the performance had been, which areas needed improvement, and what interventions had been put in place, especially for assurance units like risk management, internal audit and audit committees. That included the interactions with stakeholders and ethical conduct integrated aspects within DCS. Had the Committee allowed DCS to present on the first quarter performance of 2014/15 as well, it would have seen the significant improvements to DCS performance going forward. Still lacking was setting up those assurance units that DCS needed. DCS was currently focusing on its risk management assessment as well as how it would mitigate those risks. That understanding would have informed the Committee better so that on 29 October DCS would return with the improvements that still remained in the form of a turnaround strategy as this team as well as the DCS regions were concerned with the recurring audit qualification and DCS performance in general. That was why their approach was now focusing on attitudinal change which was also why DCS was critiquing its performance going forward.

Did DCS need to draft what it thought needed to be done within the set timeframes for all the units Mr Modise had mentioned to accelerate its desired outcome of an unqualified audit?

The Acting Chairperson said that Dr Motshekga had suggested a turnaround strategy which the Committee supported as qualified audits had been recurring successively for a number of years, but when presentations were being given one could feel that there were areas that were totally lacking, which spoke to the qualified audit. Moreover the Committee needed commitment from DCS where the current challenge was acting officials could not really commit, which was why it sought to engage the Executive in that regard as well. The Committee at that time needed responses as it had directed DCS so that it could continue providing oversight where possible.

On IT, DCS had presented an intention to rollout CCTVs in the 2014/15 Annual Performance Plan (APP) over a five year period. The Committee had said that that period would be too long and that that rollout had to commence as soon as possible. What DCS had now said in this meeting is that it was still consulting with stakeholders as it did not want to find itself violating the human rights of inmates. DCS had to build security within its facilities so that it became better able to regulate its facilities which were becoming more unmanageable. Was DCS looking at things like biometrics and offsite storage in terms of DRS?

Mr Smith thought there had been consensus on the turnaround strategy but then it could be helpful for the Acting Chairperson to allow the Committee to list four or five of its observations so that DCS would be informed by those observations and concerns when preparing that strategy. For instance the issues raised by GITO could not go unchallenged where passwords could not be changed, as that was exactly the problem. The BRRR process was intended for Parliament to be able to assess the previous financial year budget against the performance of DCS and there had to be a report by a particular date. The Committee had to decide how it was going to draft that report seeing that DCS had to do a turnaround at that time.

The Acting Chairperson asked Mr Smith at what point would he want to list his concerns and observations.

He replied that he could do that immediately or just before the end of proceedings.

Dr Motshekga agreed with Mr Smith as Mr Modise had lamented that the Committee was confusing DCS as some of its interventions would have spoken to an ongoing turnaround already. Therefore the Committee would consolidate what needed to be done since DCS was saying that there was no capacity, there were vacancies, and officials were in acting positions. Possibly then the Committee needed to focus on the BRRR, but DCS also needed to work on those appointments, filling of vacancies and capacitating itself. The meeting on 29 October could certainly then be used to find out what interventions DCS had put in place to improve the situation, and whatever else needed consolidation.

The Acting Chairperson asked if the Committee and DCS were done with comments on IT.

Mr Smith said that he was confused about whether the Committee was going to comment now because he had comments or was it going to allow DCS to return on 29 of October, since Dr Motshekga had just noted that if DCS had presented, it would have answered some of the Committee’s question, had the opportunity been provided.

The Acting Chairperson said that Mr Smith could comment as she had not barred him from listing his observations, but DCS also had to conclude the key areas presentation as it had been directed to do by the Committee. Therefore whatever could be gleaned from DCS at this time the Committee had to do that. If the Committee still felt strongly about particular areas, those would be put forward as well. There had been a complaint that when it came to the community visitors visiting centres there were difficulties in acquiring tools for processing of information. Would that not be part of the IT system in prisons?

Mr Smith said that on IT, DCS had agreed previously that the system for remand needed to be up and running at some point, so that migration from manual paper logs to a computerised system of admissions and releases could be concluded. He was raising that point because DCS had spent R626 million on IT for the preceding five years. Therefore he wanted to know what value had been received for that amount of money if GITO was saying there was need for more money. The fact that there was the Correctional Matters Amendment Act which was totally dependent on such a computer system in terms of its management, yet  no one was reporting on its progress. Finally AGSA was saying the current DCS IT systems had no safeguards as someone could go and change the admission and release date of an inmate. GITO was saying DCS was comfortable with the controls it had. Perhaps that needed further elaboration because history had recorded that inmates had left the system through unauthorised manipulation of the system.
All these issues raised by even DCS where when one went to the region, it would say A but then head office would say B – that was because capturing was done manually and if the IT system were efficiently functional, one should punch it in Cape Town and it would be reconciled anywhere in SA. The challenge with manual administration was that DCS had to log 243 books of admissions daily which spoke to integrity. Mr Smith said that he had been vocal about this right through the session.
 
The Acting Chairperson reiterated that what Mr Smith was saying was that DCS needed to be computerised just like the South African Revenue Service (SARS) had done for 50 million SA citizens. If DCS was not ready to respond, it was acceptable.

Dr Motshekga noted that the programme had a briefing on IT and ICT infrastructure at DCS on 19 November and therefore those issues could be dealt with then.

The Acting-Chairperson allowed DCS to speak to compliance with legislation

Ms Mareka agreed with the AGSA findings on procurement policies and procedures. There had indeed been instances where DCS officials had been conducting business with government without the necessary approval (where PERSAL cases of such had mostly been in provinces). There was a risk that there were far more such instances as AGSA only worked on PERSAL whereas entities of state and local government were using their own systems apart from national and provincial PERSAL. DCS had raised that with Treasury in the CFO forum as there was no system to check on that. Moreover it had also requested AGSA quarterly assistance in that regard which would be paid for because DCS did not want to find out only at the end of the year where its officials had been flouting procurement regulations. DCS had declared all such cases as irregular, so had other departments with the attended exchange of relevant documents where officials were doing business with government without declaration or permission to do so.

AGSA had also picked up on dealing with prohibited suppliers which had previously not supplied government departments properly or conducted business fraudulently. Once departments had evidence, those suppliers were given hearings and if found guilty then they would be blacklisted on the Treasury database so that no department should have dealings with those suppliers for a particular period. There had been one instance in Middleburg Hospital where a director had been blacklisted as a supplier and DCS had indicated to the AGSA that it could not bar offenders from using that hospital because of that one individual. Then again Treasury saw that as non-compliance as no one was supposed to conduct business with restricted suppliers. Additionally there was another case which was currently being investigated on why the management in the area affected had not vetted the supplier on the database. There was also the issue of family members of officials who were suppliers to government that had not disclosed having family members in government making risk management that much conflicted and challenging. Those were also under investigation.
There was also non-compliance on timeous payment of service providers which was an area that had improved month on month. The last report had less than 8% non-compliance. DCS year-on-year analysis on non-compliance had found that it increased every year around April, decreased in May to becoming manageable. Payments were also high around February-March. These were issues that were being monitored month on month. In instances were non-compliance was justified, the documentation would be attached and DCS would request AGSA that, if the reasons remained justifiable, then that should not be non-compliance. AGSA had indicated that it could not do that and DCS acknowledged that fact. There was also a case with delegations which had been logged as irregular where a person who was not delegated to approve payments of orders had signed off without valid reasons and ratification. The greatest component in the non-compliance of collection of revenue was debt management of monies owed by its own current and former officials. Those monies were large especially in the breach of contracts which were interest bearing.

Mr Raseroka said that DCS had done a comparative analysis of its performance over the past three years and in terms of its performance for the year under review. There had been improvements according to that analysis. In 2010/11 DCS had achieved 45% of its overall indicators, in 2011/12 50% whereas in 2012/13 that had gone down to 43% with the current financial year above 70%.

The Acting Chairperson commented that she had thought that Mr Raseroka would speak to the leave without pay which Ms Mareka had mentioned which personnel had challenges servicing. It was R300 000 worth of leave. DCS would speak to that.

Mr Raseroka explained that there was an executive manager dealing with HR, whereas he only dealt with strategy.

Mr Majake said that leave without pay also spoke to the fact that at one point DCS had no national service provider appointed to deal with temporary incapacity leave, which then had the effect where people were taking time off continually. As one had an HR manager in a management area that was not by law allowed to classify that leave as temporary incapacity leave (because they were not professionally inclined that way). That leave then became a debt owed to DCS by that employee. It was only after a service provider had been appointed which DPSA had indeed done, that an assessment could be done so that that leave could be properly reclassified. In instances where it was found that there were payable amounts to the state an arrangement would be made with that particular individual so that monies could be recouped. The challenge around the massive bill was that when the tender had gone out, a challenge had then been launched after the tender had been awarded. That then had resulted in costly litigation where a transversal contract had not been awarded to a service provider for temporary incapacity up until the litigation had been concluded.

The Acting Chairperson said that hopefully the service provider would deal with the R300 000 temporary incapacity as it felt like there was something amiss concerning that calculation.

Mr Smith said that what had been missing with non-compliance were consequences for someone who did not have the authority to sign off on orders. The note would simply state that was non-compliance. What actions had DCS taken in terms of discipline? Mr Smith was concerned that out of 2 500 cases of serious misconduct at DCS, only 103 people had been dismissed.

The Acting Chairperson added that she was also interested in what sanctions were there for people that had not declared business interests with the state. How far had DCS spent for 2014/15 in comparison with 2013/14?

Ms Mareka reiterated that all non-compliance cases were declared irregular and those officials were taken through the various stages of disciplinary procedures. In cases where the Departmental Investigation Unit (DIU) had to be engaged when dealing with family members where there was an element of fraud, that would be dealt with as a case of fraud. The challenge with some of the cases was that the investigation reports had to be sent back when DCS felt that sanctions were not harsh enough. With declarations, the process was similar when people had not declared.

Before finalising, the Acting Chairperson said the Committee could add to its list of concerns and observations.

Mr Smith noted that there would be standalone meetings for each of the key areas with challenges. Therefore the only area he was concerned about was the legislative review. Were there any changes that DCS envisaged or wanted considered? Where there any implications since the two departments had been combined?

Mr Redelinghuys said he would like DCS to interrogate further what AGSA had said was an over-dependence on consultants and the need for skills transfer. Additionally, when did DCS hope to have the overtime policy finalised? When could the Committee expect the screening tool for sexual abuse? What positions did the three suspended SMS members hold?

The Acting Chairperson said that DCS did not have to respond now but in the upcoming meetings and thanked the delegation for appearing before the Committee

The meeting was then adjourned.
 

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