Department of Justice 2013/14 on its Annual Report & 1st Quarter 2014/15 with stakeholder input & Auditor-General report

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Justice and Correctional Services

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

The Auditor General said the Justice Portfolio was doing relatively well except for problems complying with Supply Chain Management regulations. Third Party Funds had again received a disclaimer but the Auditor General said they were providing advice on instituting controls and a new IT accounting programme would eventually assist in it achieving compliance.

The Community Law Centre, the Shukumisa Campaign and the Women’s Legal Centre commented specifically on the Department's first Annual Report on the Implementation of Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act for 2013/14 and made recommendations. The Shukumisa Campaign aims to ensure implementation of policies and legislation related to sexual offences. The Committee commended these civil society organisations for their work and the excellent submissions as they were helpful and would give the Department a lot to respond to. The Committee heard that some police discourage victims from reporting rape so as not to increase the statistics for sexual violence. Members heard that the Shukumisa campaign had 45 member organisations across the country with the four strongest provinces being Western Cape, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal. The Women’s Legal Centre Litigated in all nine provinces.

The Department of Justice and Correctional Services briefed the Committee on its 2013/14 Annual Report. A key policy update was the National Action Plan on crimes against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community. Key challenges were:
- While the Department has experienced a shortfall in operational expenses, the overall financial report indicated under-spending of over R475 million and
- The Department’s occupational dispensation for legally qualified officials remained unresolved and this created labour relations issues and had an effect on service delivery. Engagement with the Department of Public Service and Administration was ongoing

Members were concerned that English and Afrikaans as the main languages used in courts were excluding people from engaging effectively in the justice system. Security in courts was also troubling issue as were fires in courts. The Committee asked about default judgments and corruption in courts, the South Gauteng High Court construction, insolvency policy, engagement with the Department of Public Works, Third Party Funds (TPF), having a single sex offenders register, status of court statistics, and the progress with the Office of the State Attorney. Members asked why the Master of the High Court was not transferred to the Office of the Chief Justice. The status of the TRC reparations was questioned and it was explained that 22 000 had received R30 000 and 12 people could not be found.

The Department of Justice and Correctional Services briefed the Committee on its 2014/15 Quarter 1 Performance Report. Members asked how many female advocates were briefed to act as counsel, how many justice colleges there were, for clarity on funded vacancies. It was noted that the Forum against Racism was no longer in existence. It was proposed that an alternative justice project should be set up with civil society organisations to build a paralegal system that could assist those without access to justice..
 

Meeting report

Auditor-General South Africa on DoJCD 2013/14 Audit Outcomes
Mr Lourens van Vuuren, AGSA Business Executive, presented a table showing DoJCD and its eight entities' audit outcomes over the past five years - plus any qualification areas, predetermined objectives findings and/or compliance findings. He said this portfolio was quite different from the Correctional Services portfolio which was mainly one entity. DoJCD had a total of nine audit reports.

If one looked at the Justice portfolio, there was only one entity that did not have an unqualified opinion financially, and four entities had some work to do with findings on non-compliance with legislation. None had findings in terms of performance reporting. Hence this portfolio was actually doing very well. It was especially good that this portfolio had done so well in its performance reporting.

Mr Yusuf Essack, Senior Manager: AGSA, said that slide number 4 should be read together with the Briefing Note pages 3, 4 and 6 as this would provide a lot of insight. The briefing document detailed which four were clean: the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the President’s Fund, Guardian’s Fund and Legal Aid South Africa. That then left five entities. Out of five, four were financially unqualified and depicted as clean for financial statements but they had an issue with legislation compliance. Third Party Funds again received a disclaimer and it was recommended that this entity instill discipline in daily and monthly controls and its aging Justice Deposit Account System (JDAS) was to be replaced.

Mr Essack said that supply chain management plagued the entities. The recommendation was that management should ensure that the prescribed processes were complied with and disciplinary steps were taken where necessary (see document). 

Discussion
Mr S Swart (ACDP) asked for more information about Third Party Funds as that was clearly the biggest outstanding issue with the Justice portfolio. He asked if AGSA thought the JDAS system would be finalised within 18 to 24 months’ time. How could the Portfolio Committee assist the Department in oversight to improve particularly the Third Party Funds?

Mr Essack replied that the JDAS system replacement would take some time. In the meantime, the AG was engaging with management and the Audit Committee on was what were the quick wins or what were the interventions that could be put in place so Third Party Funds would be in a better position for a qualified audit opinion and then slowly to move it to unqualified. As a start each transaction should be correctly recorded on a daily basis. Bank reconciliations should be done on a daily and monthly basis as well. There should be records management to ensure there was documentation for each transaction. The last area addressed was closing balances.

Ms C Pilane-Majake (ANC) asked for clarity about the disclaimer and which auditing area required a 56% intervention according to slide 7.

Mr Essack said Third Party Funds was basically a trust account, so there was no income statement. The challenges here were that one basically had three line items on the financial statement: Bank balance; Trust creditors and Shortages. Theoretically the bank balance should be equal to money owed to individuals. There was a discrepancy between the Bank balance and Trust creditors which were the Shortages.

Mr L Mpumlwana (ANC) asked for clarity about the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) because there was a qualification on its 2012/13 report. He asked if this meant non-compliance with laws. He asked what the irregular expenditure meant.

Mr Essack replied that its audit opinion in 2012/13 was a qualified opinion. This meant that there were certain errors in the financial statements which could not be rectified by management, and the auditor was not satisfied with those areas. The report showed that it was fixed assets. The entity did manage to fix them during the 2013/14 year however, the systems put in place were still not adequate, and the audit process still revealed certain discrepancies which were then corrected by management. It was more a reliance on the audit process rather than the daily and monthly disciplines that led to the unqualified opinion in 2013/14.

He said irregular expenditure was defined in the PFMA as expenditure that was made not in compliance with the law. The AG’s audit findings picked up non-compliance in two areas: irregular expenditure and financial statements. In most cases these were non-compliance with supply chain management (SCM) regulations. This did not mean that fraud was committed. The PFMA required that there were systems in place to prevent fraud. So the SCM service was delivered, it just meant that the compliance with the actual regulations had some discrepancies. There was no fraud nor were goods not delivered.

Ms Pilane-Majake asked for clarity about Third Party Funds and the disclaimer. Normally when there was a disclaimer, one realised that the situation was dire. She was concerned that there was an awareness of the problems and reassurances that they were being worked on, yet the problems continued.

Mr Essack said that there were events in place to capacitate the courts and there should be financial persons in place to check what the internal controls should be. For example, how money transactions should be recorded. There were moves in that direction which should alleviate the problems.

The Chairperson asked who was being held accountable because, if the AG was correct in saying there were systemic problems, was it known how they arose. No one knew how they arose and nobody knew how to deal with them, so what was being done here. Where could a solution be found? If the people responsible for running the department could not be blamed for those problems, it was difficult to understand what to do.

Mr Essack said that with all these concerns and legacy issues for Third Party Funds, what they were advocating was that the department start by looking at what the financial situation should look like. And if controls were in place, then there should not be a problem. If accounting records confirmed the bank balance, then this was easy to be done if the disciplines were in place. Then the next item to look at was what the Creditors balance should be and if this could be reconciled with the Beneficiary listing. So it might be a qualification this current year but at least one knew that the balance going over to the next year would be the correct balance. With regard to Shortages, those had to be investigated to know exactly what were the system shortages and what were the cash shortages.

The Chairperson said that the work of the AGSA really empowered the Department and the entities to take these matters forward. The “R60 million” did not mean there was doom and gloom as there was a clear way forward. He thanked the Auditor-General team as they had done very good work which would empower all to move forward. The problematic areas have been identified and good recommendations were made.

Community Law Centre and Shukumisa comments on the DoJCD & NPA Annual Reports
Ms Samantha Waterhouse, Attorney/Activist: Community Law Centre (CLC) University of the Western Cape (UWC), said that they appreciated the time allowed for civil society to engage. It was hoped that what was presented would be useful in the work of the Committee. Comments were delivered on three documents: the DoJCD Annual Report, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Annual Report and the updated Performance Report from the Department on Sexual Offences Implementation. The submission focused on sexual offences because that was the area of expertise of the presenter who had worked very closely with Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (RAPCAN) who had undertaken the research with people on the ground. These reflections from people on the ground were integrated around the conversation on policy priorities.

Ms Vivienne Mentor-Lalu, Co-ordinator: Shukumisa Campaign, said that the South African Police Service (SAPS) targets to reduce sexual violence cases (SVC) by 7% were extremely problematic and resulted in cases being turned away. The attitudes of staff in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) often reflected societal attitudes about sexual violence such as blaming the victim (drunk, revealing clothes, out late) and the sexual history of the survivor was used against her. These misconceptions were harmful because they resulted in the victim being blamed; and the majority of victims did not pursue criminal prosecution.

Ms Waterhouse said that there has been an enormous effort to change the legal and policy framework. The objective of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2007 was to afford complainants of sexual offences the maximum and least traumatizing protection that the law can provide. Over the years there has been significant development in understanding what was needed but commitment and resources have lagged. Little has changed for survivors, for example, as many cases reported to SAPS do not register in NPA statistics. Of the approximately 60 000 cases reported to SAPS, the NPA recorded only around 10 000 new cases every year.

Ms Mentor-Lalu said that some of the challenges were:
- Not doing ‘victim satisfaction’ surveys;
- Shukumisa members reported improvements in the treatment of many survivors at court have reversed;
- Lack of respect for rights widespread;
- Few survivors feel protected in the system and
- Questionable if any improvements for survivors – with only pockets of excellence;
- There was a need to ensure long term investment which included infrastructure to human resources.

Ms Waterhouse said that minimum standards should be prescribed and asked the question: Will the Ministerial Advisory Task Team on Sexual Offences (MATTSO) standards be included in the regulations? It was essential that DoJCS collaborated and partnered with civil society organisations (CSOs) to provide services to survivors that promoted victim support at all stages of the CJS (see document).

Women’s Legal Centre submission on the DoJCD 2013/14 Annual Report
Ms Sanja Bornman, Attorney: Women’s Legal Centre, thanked the Committee for the opportunity to make a submission. She expressed concern that the Annual Report did not recognize Gender Based Violence (GBV) as a major concern challenging the country, and the resulting challenges women and girls were facing in accessing justice. The establishment of a court infrastructure was a major step, but research has shown that the system was failing women.

Progress in relation to domestic violence prevention and services appeared limited. Aside from Justice College training on the subject, there was no further indication of the achievements and challenges faced by domestic violence courts, or any significant investment in improving services. The Department was commended on introducing the Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) system for maintenance payments.

The challenges based on the lived realities of women were still un-addressed. Some of these were:
- Locating respondents and defaulters
- Provision of accurate financial information and
- Proper service of documents.

The State had an important constitutional responsibility to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the rights of citizens set out in Bill of Rights (see document).

Discussion
The Chairperson said that the presenting organisations were doing very good work. He did not think that the Members would have had the time to focus as closely on the matters as these organisations did. The Department would have to engage with the matters presented so time would be spent on clarity rather than on more engagement with the issues already mentioned in the submissions.

Mr Swart commended civil society for the excellent reports. They were very helpful to the Committee and would give the Department a lot to respond to. The Committee needed to do oversight visits to Wynberg as a best practice site, and Mpumalanga to see why there were so many discrepancies in rural areas. There was a need to investigate why prosecution levels were so low and the need for minimum sentencing.

Mr M Maila (ANC) commended the presenters on the good submissions and all the hard work. The Committee should look at integration of common areas with the various relevant departments such as the Departments of Education and Human Settlements. He would appreciate seeing investment in education and convictions in the area of sexual offences.

Ms Pilane-Majake thanked the presenters. Department of Justice needed to take cognisance of the low conviction rate and gender focal points. This bordered on everything to do with gender mainstreaming in the Department. From the Shukumisa report, it was a matter of concern that police were discouraging rape victims from reporting so that they could meet their targets. She encouraged Shukumisa to provide accompanying information to back up statements like this so that the public would not be misled.

The Director General, Ms Nonkululeko Sindane, replied that the Department did have a gender unit which did a lot of work checking whether equality courts were accessible. These units were thin in capacity. A report was expected soon. The Department was also looking at its own policies to see whether they were gender sensitive. It did look at domestic violence and maintenance in the court environment. This was just so that the Committee knew it existed within the broader machinery of government.

Ms Mothapo (ANC) was concerned that organisations like Women’s Legal Centre had offices in only two provinces and none in rural provinces. She suggested that the Women’s Legal Centre and Shukumisa should have offices in rural areas.

Ms Bornman replied that the Shukumisa Campaign has 45 members across the country and the four strongest provinces were the Western Cape and Gauteng, but there was strong membership from Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal. The Sukumisa Campaign was a network of a range of different organisation across the country. So when it spoke about the member’s input, it included voices from rural areas.

Ms Waterhouse said the Women’s Legal Centre litigated in all nine provinces of the country and their training and advocacy programmes travelled to places where needed. It was not limited to the Cape Town and Johannesburg metropolitan areas.

Department of Justice and Correctional Services (DoJCS) on its 2013/14 Annual Report
Ms Nonkululeko Sindane, Director General, provided policy updates and an organisational overview. She said that the most important policy update was that the Superior Courts Act of 2013 had been implemented. Another important policy update was the finalisation of documents and the establishment of a Rapid Response Team for the National Action Plan on crimes against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community. She reported the key areas of achievement to be: improved access to justice; improved service delivery; improved administration and improved performance within the JCPS Cluster. She reported on the performance of the three programmes (Administration; Court Services; State Legal Services) and provided a financial and audit report.

Some of the key challenges that the DG reported were:
- While the Department has experienced a shortfall in operational expenses, the overall financial report indicated under-spending of over R475 million and
- The Department’s occupational dispensation for legally qualified officials remained unresolved and this created labour relations issues and had an effect on service delivery. Engagement with the Department of Public Service and Administration was ongoing (see document for full details).
 
Discussion
The Chairperson said that the Department was doing a lot of good work. It should develop a newsletter to update everyone.

As part of her response, Ms Sindane commented that some questions from the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) had been sent to the Department. These questions had been inadequately responded to. She would check and see what had transpired.

Mr Mpulwana said that he wanted to list some points of emphasis. He did not hear about the department’s language policy. People were unhappy because English was the main language of communication. The Police often took down statements in English and their English was not good. This had to be discussed with SAPS. The processing of cases was very slow. The security at courts was shocking with court officials including the magistrate often under attack. The area of default judgments was a sensitive one with illiterate people often at the mercy of their attorneys. This has to be checked.

The Director General replied that the number of cases in courts were increasing and the number of crimes were increasing. The lack of resources was the major stumbling block in sorting this out. Courts dealing with drug cases were experiencing a lot of attacks. There were a number of observations from the public about slow cases. This was being moved to the judiciary. The DG agreed with the issue of default judgments and this was an issue that the Department would put on the table again for discussion with the Board of Sheriffs to look at how they dealt with illiterate defendants.

Mr Tsietsi Malema, Acting Deputy Director General: Court Services, said that the Department took the issue of language policy very seriously. So seriously that it ran pilots on language policy in a few courts. It found that implementation of all 11 languages could work especially in the lower courts. However for the findings of the pilots to be implemented it would require the amendment of the Magistrate’s Court Act of 1944 especially Section 6, which prescribed that only English and Afrikaans should be used in court proceedings. Work was being done to amend the Act. Section 6 would be replaced by an enabling provision for the rules to be made by the rules board to allow the use of all languages in court proceedings. It would take 18 months to two years. The Department would provide capacity for this endeavour.

A Department official replied about default judgments, saying that a lot of incidents of fraud were occurring in the courts and this was based on the warning the Portfolio Committee had given the Department. A quality assurance unit was established to deal with this. They have been to a few courts and found that there were clerks working with firms of attorneys who were paying them. This was being investigated.

Ms Mothapo expressed her appreciation for the presentation. She expressed sympathy for the DG for the lack of action from the Department of Public Works. This Department should be interacted with. With regard to access to justice, she commended the Department for the handling of maintenance cases. As mentioned by the presenters from the Shukumisa Campaign and the Women’s Legal Centre, there was a lack of adequate tracking of defaulters and respondents. The advocacy programme should capacitate women to know the identity details of their male partners. Case flow management was a problematic area as the process took so long that communities had lost interest in the judicial system. The Department should attend to Third Party Funds (TPF) and deceased estates for rural people.

The DG replied that the assistance that the Committee could provide in this instance would be appreciated. There was a good relationship with Public Works, however at process level it sometimes became a problem.

Mr Swart said that the court statistics were not included in the Annual Report. It was very important for the Committee to have those statistics. The DG briefly alluded to the Office of the State Attorney issue. He asked for greater clarity about this because it was urgent now. In September this year a judge stated in his judgment: “It is a matter of very grave concern that nothing our courts have said appears to have been heeded by the Minister or the Department of Justice and Correctional Services”. The names of state attorneys were being withheld. The Committee needed a report about the turnaround. What was happening?

Mr Malema said that court statistics would be provided in the form of a written report. The Committee was aware that the transfer of high courts took place based on the provisions not only of the Constitution, but also on the provisions of the Superior Courts Act. One of those provisions and he thought it was Section 8, did say that the Chief Justice would take responsibility for managing all judicial functions in all courts, both higher and lower courts. Part of those judicial functions included court performance. So the Department just wanted to alert the Committee that from 1 April 2015 onwards it would be the Department of Chief Justice that would be submitting reports on case backlogs. The National Efficiency Enhancement Committee now had provincial chapters as well. The Department has already provided capacity in this regard.

On the State Attorney matter, the DG said she would first accept responsibility as it was the responsibility of her Department to invest in the Office of the State Attorney. This function had not been invested in adequately. The Department had wanted to invest in the State Attorney both last year and this year. Unfortunately the Department did not have the resources and would have to find some money somewhere. Secondly, she had chaired a whole range of committees related to the State Attorney. The biggest problem was where courts had made adverse cost orders against the State Attorney. There was a need to see where money was needed that could be added.

Mr Swart said that the 61% success rate for the State’s Attorney was commendable, but there was a large number of cases that were settled and the Committee needed to get a report on how many cases were settled, at what stage of the proceedings and how was that process monitored.

The DG said that the clients of the State Attorney who were generally government departments, would want to fight the matter till they had no other option but to settle. An attempt was being made to get the Accounting Officers of those departments to give this Department standing settlement powers so that it could settle cases. It was presently working with the Department of Home Affairs, SAPS and the Department of Health. Capacity was a big problem in the Office of the State Attorney. The Department was trying to get the system open to allow supervisor attorneys to supervise junior attorneys.

Mr Swart said that there were a lot of positive achievements such as the EFT payments [for almost all maintenance and guardian fund payments] which was phenomenal.

Mr Swart asked why the Master of the High Court was not transferred to the Office of the Chief Justice.

Mr Malema replied that there was no agreement between the Minister and the Chief Justice. The judiciary for now was just happy to have high courts transferred to the judiciary.

Mr W Horn (DA) said he appreciated the progress made by the Department in certain aspects. He asked for clarity about the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ).

The DG replied that the OCJ moving and what infrastructure is being left behind, was a question of a policy nature because ultimately it was the responsibility of the Executive to ensure that justice services were distributed throughout the country. Therefore they made the decision of where the next court was going to situated because that was where the people wanted it. People who spoke to the Executive to deliver courts and that was the policy principle behind that.

Mr Horn said that EFT payments for Third Party Funds was a step forward and would definitely curb corruption. According to the AG opinion, the processes in place were not going to turn the situation around immediately. He asked what additional measures would be taken to turn the situation around.

The DG replied that once the Department had received the money, the beneficiary schedule was checked. If the schedule and everything was correct, the Department made payment between 24 hours and 48 hours. This was done in most cases, however for the past six months or so, the system dropped quite significantly. It dropped because it was overloaded. The department’s VPN network was very thin and therefore overloaded. The Department contacted State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and was told by SITA  that the system would be rolled back to Telkom who originally managed it, to solve the problem .

Mr Horn directed this question specifically at the DG. He did not think it was proper for the Department to say they had turned the process around in terms of the payment of creditors because of the decrease in outstanding 30-day creditors from R492 million in 2011/12 to R9 million in this financial year. Now for the first time the Department had underspent by R475 million. The Department still needed to address this not just in theory only.

The DG replied that if the Department had paid R475 million it would have been broke. The two amounts were unrelated because the R479 million was money that was designated and ring-fenced for building courts, as well as the R120 million for a court recording system that was not procured. So those monies were for those two projects specifically and would not affect the accruals. But it was partly true because the operational budget was extremely strained. There was agreement that if everything was paid on time, the Department would have experienced problems.

Ms Pilane-Majake said she just wanted to commend the DG for managing to hold the fort. Managing to process disaster recovery solutions was commendable.

Ms Pilane-Majake asked where the Department was in the TRC process, because she thought this had been completed and therefore the money that remained was only for the people who could not be found.

Mr Malema replied that it was partly true in that there were four recommendations that were adopted by Cabinet and Parliament. One was the urgent reparations in which 22 000 people were identified to receive R30 000 as tokens of appreciation. Most of the people have been paid except 12 people who were no longer in the country. Their whereabouts were unknown but the money would be kept until they could be found.

Ms Pilane-Majake said that with regard to the Third Party Funds disclaimer by the Auditor-General, she could not understand why it was difficult to work with figures.

The DG replied that the Department was strained in terms of capacity. Until last year, the people who were doing Third Party Funds (TPF) were also doing everything else in the courts. From a capacity point of view, it was not practical to do reconciliations all the time. As the Department generated capacity for TPF and ring-fenced it, the reconciliations would become evident.

Ms Pilane-Majake asked about progress with the South Gauteng High Court construction.

A Department official replied that the delays in the project were due to the users who kept on making additional requirements and this required variation orders. The second delay was that the building had to comply with new regulations that related to fire escapes and that sort of thing. December 2016 was the tentative date for completion.

Ms Pilane-Majake asked what the position was with regard to having one register for sex offenders.

The DG replied that that project was on going behind the scenes with the Department and The Department of Social Development. A lot more work needed to be done. The compliance registers in the two were quite different and to tidy the them up and getting them to work together was proving to be a little bit of an issue. But the work was being done and it would be reported to the Committee.

Ms Pilane-Majake said that with the Department of Correctional Services the biggest problem was Remand detainees and the court roll. This Department had agreed to come up with a plan to assist the Department of Correctional Services with the large population of Remand detainees.

The DG replied that regarding issues of court roll, the Minister could only appeal to the prosecution authority because they dealt with court rolls. The Department did not do that in specific terms, she guessed the same appeal would be made to the judiciary as far as case flow management was concerned, so those persons did not wait for long as awaiting trial prisoners. What the Department did as the JCPS cluster, was to do an age analysis of people sitting in remand detention. Longest serving person was 6years. The outcomes of the project would be submitted to the Committee. The Department did not have a progress report at this stage.
The Chairperson said he did not understand how someone could write an article and accuse government of wanting to keep the money due to victims of apartheid to spend it otherwise. We say to people our doors are open. The Department of Justice accounts to us. This creates unnecessary tensions in society. If people have information that there is something untoward, they should approach the Committee and give us the facts. The moment you write an article and say: "The President's Fund: where is the money for apartheid victims actually going?", you have already created the message that there is some kind of misappropriation. Throwing about such accusations is tarnishing our democracy - as if nothing is working in this country and that is not the case.

The Magistrates Commission recognised 11 languages. One did not have to wait for the laws, there was a situation on the ground that had to be respected. He commented, “I guess you want to be professional and not behave like activists!” With regard to the question of paralegals, the sooner the legislation was brought to the Committee, the better because it was really at the heart of access to justice. Someone wrote an article that said that only 46% of people understood the Constitution. If this were correct, and we were a constitutional democracy, then what would become of the nation.

Ms Mothapo asked what corrective measures had been put in place with regard to court fires.

The DG replied that with the court fires, three things were coming out. First with regard to the Pretoria Magistrate’s court, the age of the court and the size of the population in court was important. The court was not designed to deal with that size. The electrical wiring was also a contributing factor. Part of the institution was built from heritage sites and one could not do too much to change that. In Polokwane, the Magistrate Court was badly constructed. The source of the fire was linked to wiring. With one other court fire it was due to negligence. The rest of the fires were due to the age of the infrastructure.

The DG said that the Committee had asked the Department to present the two quarterly reports for the current year. It was currently finalising the 2nd  quarterly reports. She was quite uncomfortable in presenting something that was still going through the approval process. She asked if the Committee would approve if only the first report was presented. In response, the Chairperson said that this was acceptable.

Department of Justice and Correctional Services Quarter 1 Performance Report 2014/15
Ms Nonkululeko Sindane, Director General, said that the Department’s mandate was to support administration of justice in line with the Constitution. The Department had five programmes within which its objectives were achieved, Programme 1: Administration; Programme 2: Court Service; Programme 3 State Legal Services; Programme 4:The National Prosecuting Authority; and Programme 5:Auxilliary Services.

The target to re-establish two sexual offences at courts during the quarter under review was not achieved due to shortage of equipment at Molopa, Umlazi and Port Elizabeth. The installation would be completed during the second quarter. During the period under review, the Department recorded 497 maintenance cases with proper service of process at 9 pilot sites and all (497) cases were finalised within 90 days, translating to 100% performance.

The Programme Management Office require skills to accelerate delivery of the integrated information system. To this effect the target has been set to capacitate this office. For the quarter under review seven personnel had been recruited to this office, and this constituted 30% performance against milestone set (see document).

Discussion
Ms Mothapo asked how many women attorneys and advocates were given briefings to act as counsel.

The DG asked the Chairperson if it was in order if the answer to this question be provided in writing and submitted to the Committee.

Ms Mothapo asked how many justice college lecturers there were.

The DG said that the Department was behind in training. They had a number of content lecturers who were training on the actual issues of law. A lot of these lecturers left during the changes and migration of the Office of the Chief Justice because some of the trainers were supposed to migrate to South African Judicial Education Institute (SAJEI). Now the Department had to start from scratch

Ms Mothapo asked for clarity about funded vacancies.

The DG replied that the Department was unable to appoint people on time. The Department has brought in quite a lot of new people so the figures for quarter 2 would reflect an increase.

Both Ms Pilane-Majake and Ms Mothapo asked at what percentage was the Department’s budget for the first six months of 2014/15.

Ms Lorraine Roussouw, DoJCS Chief Financial Officer, said that budget expenditure was at 40%.

The Chairperson said that the Department used to have Forum against Racism. If you look at what was happening at universities with people born in the Nineties, so when you talk about apartheid, they do not know what you talking about. The Committee has not had explanation why that forum has been closed down. Now you have the South African Human Rights Commission holding public hearing on racism. That did not achieve anything. If you have forum where young people were engaged and taught, and there was debate, one could achieve more than public hearings. He thought the DG had spoken about a project on alternative justice which the Department was supposed to report on, this could be used to build paralegal community justice. This paralegal community justice will really help with access to justice because the Committee values the work that civil society organisations were doing. He suggested that they try to come up with legislation on paralegal justice. That Forum against Racism could actually deal with constitutional literacy as it would get people to understand the Constitution and how it worked.

With regard to the Traditional Courts Bill, the Chairperson did not think one should have the situation that was had with the Legal Practice Bill. He supported women’s rights but he had a difficulty when women from the city who were self-professed feminists would speak for ordinary women who were the majority and looked at things through their culture and that culture was respected by the Constitution. So we should reach a stage where we emancipate the voice of everybody, then take a decision after that.

Ms Pilane said that the TRC issue required a meeting with Kulumani, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation and Legal Resources Centre.

Questions asked but not directly answered
- Mr Horn asked if the draft paper had been developed and accepted about the OCJ as an autonomous institution.
- Mr Horn asked for an update about the insolvency policy. This policy addressed racial transformation and planned to overhaul the whole system to specifically deal with the complaints procedure.
- Mr Horn asked for clarity about the problem of fruitless and wasteful expenditure because in the Annual Report it was reported as being under control but the AG reported that there was no improvement and no disciplinary action was taken against offending officials.

The Chairperson commented that every time the Department came, the Committee was educated. He said to keep up the good work.
 

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