The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, having received the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) for the Department of Correctional Services only that morning, postponed its consideration to the following day. It proceeded to read through the draft BRRR for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, page by page. Aside from effecting several typographical changes, it dealt with what had been reported to the Committee by the accounting institutions under the budget vote, observations drawn from that engagement, and recommendations decided on by the Committee.
The alterations to the observations on the Department were generally stylistic and the bulk of the substantive alterations were made to the recommendations. These included regular reporting on the research into the impact of apex court decisions, an oversight visit to the land claims courts, and a suggestion to restrict the travel of maintenance defaulters.
Persistent contention arose throughout the meeting around Chapter Nine institutions, and the Office of the Public Protector in particular. The Committee removed an observation that the non-implementation of remedial action prescribed by the Public Protector was a “worrying trend”, with the Chairperson indicating that the issues surrounding this had been clarified by the courts. The Committee accepted that the Public Protector had received an unqualified audit, with matters of emphasis. A Member proposed observing that the South African Human Rights Commission had persisted in participating in the Marikana Commission, despite the Committee having inadequate information to fully support the decision. The Chairperson recommended the Committee should rather await the information before doubting their participation.
Regarding the Public Protector’s request for funds to fund the staff establishment which had been approved by Parliament, the Committee recommended that it noted the request. In order to be in a position to decide properly on the funding, a full report was requested which included information about the number, type and finalisation rate of cases. It would then go on to accept the proposal to visit the offices of the Public Protector, to fully inform its decision.
Regarding reports from all Chapter Nine institutions, the Committee recommended that quarterly reports be submitted to the Office for Institutions Supporting Democracy, which would discern issues relevant to portfolio committees.
The formal adoption of the final report was set for the following day.
The Chairperson apologised for the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report on the Department of Correctional Services being distributed for the first time as the Members met that morning. This did not give the Members enough time to read and consider the report. He therefore asked for input from the Committee.
Mr J Selfe (DA) said he had already identified some issues, having had the Report for only the past half an hour. He suggested setting up a short meeting the following day to consider it.
The Chairperson asked if this was acceptable to the Committee.
Ms M Mothapo (ANC) noted that it had to be before 12 noon, because Members had other commitments, such as caucus meetings.
The Chairperson said the meeting would be at 9am the following day, before the caucuses.
Consideration of Budgetary Recommendation and Review Report
The Chairperson then said they would deal with the Budgetary Recommendation and Review Report (BRRR) for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DJCD). He proceeded to take the Committee through the Report, asking Members to indicate corrections or additions:
Ms G Breytenbach (DA) said she had difficulty with the description of the Public Protector in the second last and last lines. These read: “report on and suggest remedial action”, and it ought to read: “take remedial action following section 181 (2) (c) of the Constitution.”
Mr V Smith (ANC) spoke to 2.3, saying that he did not understand what was meant, because it speaks to combating wasteful and fruitless expenditure, then refers to additional resources being allocated.
The Chairperson asked other Members to explain what was meant.
Mr W Horn (DA) said as he had understood it, the DJCD had indicated that it would make additional funds available to the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT).
The Chairperson said the paragraph indicated additional resources to the ACTT and the Public Protector.
Mr Horn said he did not think the Department would have anything to do with funds being transferred to the Public Protector, and had briefed the Committee only on funds for the ACTT.
The Chairperson agreed, and asked whether the Committee agreed with the deletion of “Public Protector.”
Ms M Pilane-Majake (ANC) agreed, and said it should read: “funds for anti-corruption activities.”
Ms Christine Silkstone, Content Advisor to the Committee, said this was based on the National Development Plan, which speaks to the multi-agency anti-corruption effort. This was the reason it was phrased so broadly.
Ms G Breytenbach (DA) said that the ACTT had nothing to do with the Public Protector, being comprised of the SIU, Hawks, Asset Forfeiture Unit and National Prosecuting Authority.
The Chairperson said the Committee was therefore correct to leave out the Public Protector.
Ms Silkstone said under 7.5, it speaks of the Legal Practice Bill. The bill had been assented to, making it the Legal Practice Act.
The Chairperson said the Committee would be overseeing the implementation of the Act.
Prof C Msimang (IFP) asked why such a large part of the budget of the Department was being allocated to the implementation of this Act.
The Chairperson said the Department was not present and there was no one competent to answer the question.
Ms Pilane-Majake said under the 8.1.5 bullet on third party funds, it should be indicated that the Department should follow the recommendations of the Auditor General in order to receive an unqualified audit.
Mr Vhonani Ramaano, Committee Secretary, said perhaps the above should be put under Committee observations and recommendations.
Ms Silkstone said the list of sub-programmes should be under 9.2.
The Chairperson asked how the change of numbering was going to the dealt with.
Ms Breytenbach said the computer would change the numbering itself.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Breytenbach for updating him, and asked Mr Ramaano to supervise the computer.
Ms Breytenbach said at 13.5.4, the first bullet should read “100% of targets”, rather than “100 of targets”.
Submissions by the Public Protector
The Chairperson said 14.1 refers only to “suspected improper conduct in all state affairs”, while the Constitution refers to improper conduct, maladministration and prejudice in public administration. He therefore asked Mr Ramaano effect the changes to reflect the Constitution.
Ms Mothapo said 14.3, seventh bullet, reads: “stakeholder dialogue and good governance conference,” after which there is a question mark.
The Chairperson asked if that could simply be deleted, as it was not necessary to list all the activities of the Department. Further, on 14.5, he asked whether the Auditor General (AG) had given indeed the Public Protector an unqualified audit.
The Members indicated that the AG had.
Ms Breytenbach indicated that “combat” was misspelt in the second bullet under 14.6.
Ms Pilane-Majake asked what was meant by “cost cutting measures and reorganisation of work to combat this ineffectiveness” in 14.6.
Ms Breytenbach said if the initial paragraph of 14.6 was read, the bullet below made sense.
Mr Smith said “whether” had been left out between “established” and “there” on the very last line.
The Chairperson asked, regarding the last bullet under 14.6, if the Committee really supported the expansion of the Public Protector’s footprint, particularly as there were indications from other Chapter Nine institutions that they wished to do the same, and there had also been talks about them expanding together. He warned that the Committee should not commit itself unduly. He asked for Mr Ramaano’s input.
Mr Ramaano said this was what had been reported by the Public Protector in its report to the Committee.
Ms Silkstone said perhaps it should be indicated at the top of 14.6, that the Public Protector was reporting what followed.
Ms Pilane-Majake said she agreed with Ms Silkstone’s approach.
Observations on the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Mr Smith said point 5.1 indicates something to the effect that the Department is considering reports being released earlier, with the end of August being mooted. However, the Public Finance Management Act says six months, and therefore it cannot be received before September. He therefore suggested removing the sentence.
Mr M Redelinghuys (DA) said the paragraph should at least indicate that there is a concern that annual reports are not being submitted to Parliament timeously enough by Departments.
Ms Silkstone said this statement was born from a previous engagement with the Committee, which had indicated concern about the short timeframes.
The Chairperson said saying “comply with the timeframes” would be in line with the law.
Mr Ramaano said he understood that the paragraph may need to be changed. However, the concerns around the two week timeframe remained.
Mr Smith said the grammar in 5.2 could be fixed by making it read: “to reflect”.
Mr Smith said in the first paragraph, the word “measure” is misspelt.
Ms Pilane-Majake, on maintenance under “committee observations,” recalled the suggestion of restricted movements for defaulters, and would like to see this reflected.
Ms Silkstone suggested that this be dealt with under 15.18
Mr M Maila (ANC) said “progress” was misspelt on the second last line of the page.
Mr Smith said in the first paragraph in 15.8.1, the sentence starting with “However” was incomprehensible.
Ms Silkstone said it should read: “there has been a delay on SITA’s part in awarding the tender”.
Ms PIlane-Majake wanted to know if there indeed were 240 cases of fraud and corruption in the Department.
The Chairperson responded that this was what was given by the Department and what other source would another number come from.
Ms Pilane-Majake said she was concerned with the accuracy of the number, because the Committee should be concerned and have a strategy in place to deal with the problem.
Ms Silkstone said this will be double checked for accuracy.
Ms Silkstone on 15.10.2 in the second last line, dealing with the appointment of magistrates, said it should be indicated that a report should be sought on the obstacles to appointing magistrates, particularly as there is a consistent under-spending on judges’ and magistrates’ salaries, and the reasons cited are delays in appointment.
Ms Pilane-Majake said it should be observed that there had been reports of monies dedicated to the Truth and Reconciliation process being improperly used. However, the indications to the Committee had been that all the monies had been allocated. She was worried that it was unclear that it had been previously reported that all monies had been duly paid out. The Director General of the DJCD had confirmed this when she was on the Committee, and this was why the Committee had decided to call the Khulumani Victim Support Group.
The Chairperson said there were also concerns from Members, because what did it in fact mean, to say that money had been allocated? He knew the Independent Development Trust (IDT) had received some of the funds for distribution. There were also monies for rehabilitation left with the IDT which could have been mismanaged, and it would be improper for the Committee to observe something which it was not 100% sure about. He suggested calling the IDT to give a full account of what was occurring with the funds.
Ms Pilane-Majake suggested writing as little as possible in the Committee observations, because a lot remained to be clarified. What should come out of the observation was that the Committee was seeking clarity about what had happened to the TRC process.
Ms Silkstone said that under the TRC, the Committee should address the regulations issue and note the intent to further proceed with the process.
Mr Ramaano said the reason that government was failing to spend the funds was the lack of regulations and this was what Ms Silkstone was highlighting.
The Chairperson said the Committee should therefore call for the creation of these regulations.
Ms Pilane-Majake said the regulations should be left out, because there were conflicting reports and this should be acknowledged. The Committee should call all stakeholders to decide what was to be done.
Mr Maila said it should read “Alexander” on the second line of 15.15.2.
Recommendations on the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Page 45: Recommendations on Maintenance Matters
Ms Silkstone said that at the end of 15.18, around maintenance, Ms Pilane-Majake’s point about restricting travel for identified defaulters could be put into the Report.
The Chairperson asked what exactly this would mean.
Ms Pilane-Majake said this would be part of the Department’s defaulter tracing processes and could operate through the border checks, with defaulters not being allowed to leave the country before paying their maintenance.
The Chairperson said this should be engaged with further, to iron out the details.
Ms Breytenbach said she agreed with the idea, but there may be a constitutional issue at hand.
Prof Msimang referred to the third line from the bottom of the page, saying “need” needs to be inserted.
The Chairperson suggested applying Ms Pilane-Majake’s suggestion to public representatives first, because Parliament should not be sending people abroad who did not pay maintenance.
Ms Pilane-Majake agreed that a small scale pilot project would be advisable. This could build on the comparative experience gained from countries like Canada and the United States, where such interventions had helped with the payment of maintenance.
Mr Redelinghuys said a process similar to this had been run in the Western Cape, where the Department of Justice had provided a list of defaulters who were not arrested, but “pursued” at roadblocks. As a court had ordered the payment of maintenance, the defaulters were bordering on contempt of court. The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development was looking at the feasibility of this system throughout the country, but there were constitutional issues which needed to be looked into, and perhaps research into the area would aid the discussion.
Prof Msimang said the last sentence should read: “acknowledges that there are difficulties”.
Page 47: Recommendations on Land Claims Courts
Mr Smith said on the fifth last line, the number had been left out before the %.
The Chairperson said when the transformation of the judiciary was spoken of, where did the Land Claims Court fit? These did not even have full time judges. At times, people were on training and it had a limited lifespan. Land restitution had been so slow. The Oxfam report had indicated that South Africans are hungry and this is because they have no access to land or its resources. How can the Committee speak of justice, when such clear injustices are taking place? It therefore needs to think of ways to make these courts more efficient.
Ms Pilane-Majake said a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform could be helpful.
The Chairperson suggested that a visit should be made to the Land Claims Court, during oversight so that the Committee could have a factual basis from which to engage the Portfolio Committee.
Page 47: Recommendations on Research into the impact of Apex Court Decisions
Ms PIlane-Majake, referring to the impact of the Constitutional and Appeal court decisions, asked the Committee has indicated a specific timeframe for information from the Department. She was concerned that the wording is too open-ended.
The Chairperson said perhaps a report should be called for, before the Committee committed to approving the work done.
Mr Ramaano said the Committee did have a briefing on the issue, and the real work had only just begun.
Ms Pilane-Majake said her main concern was that there should be some sort of time frame for when more information would come to the Committee.
The Chairperson agreed and said it was fair for the Committee to seek a way to receive regular reports.
Ms Silkstone said the final report was due at the end of March 2015. She suggested that quarterly reports should be requested, and the final reports once completed.
Prof Msimang said seven lines from the bottom, a figure needed to be put into the sentence which dealt with the percentage by which the vacancy rate had dropped.
Mr Mpumlwana said he did not understand what was meant by 16.8.
Mr Ramaano said it was supposed to read: “the Asset Forfeiture Unit recovered R296 million in completed forfeiture cases”.
Ms Pilane-Majake it also needed to be shown that the Committee was concerned about the extent of corruption in the country, because of the assumption of high levels of corruption. The National Prosecuting Authority therefore needed to provide proper information.
Observations on Chapter Nine Institutions
Page 53: Observations on the Public Protector & submission of Chapter Nine reports
Mr Smith referred the Committee to 21.1, where the report referred to a matter as being “a worrying trend”. In light of the court cases and debate, should the Committee enter the fray about the Public Protector in this manner?
The Chairperson said the report was written before the judgment on dealing with the nature of the Office of the Public Protector had come out in the Western Cape High Court. This judgement indicated that the remedial actions recommended by the Public Protector could not be ignored, and if they were disputed, cogent reasons must be given.
Mr Ramaano suggested that the paragraph could end before the impugned sentence.
Mr L Mpumlwana (ANC) asked which departments were being referred to, as he was concerned with the sweeping statements being made.
Mr Ramaano said at the top of 21.1 it did say some government departments, and he was unsure if the sentence required correction.
Ms Silkstone said Mr Smith was correct and it should be reflected as the Public Protector reporting that remedial action was not being implemented, and the part about the worrying trend should be left out.
The Chairperson said the Public Protector had reported that she was being “defied”. Perhaps this came from the different views on the binding nature of the Public Protector’s remedial action, which had now been resolved. He said it should remain in the report, as it addressed the past, where there had been no clarity.
Ms Breytenbach again said she was not happy with the remedial action being “suggested” by the Public Protector, rather than “taken”.
Mr Mpumlwana said he continued to be disturbed by the generality of the statement, and would like to know which departments were being spoken about.
The Chairperson said the departments were mentioned in the report by the Public Protector, and there was no need to repeat them here.
Mr Mpumlwana said in light of the previous debate about the binding nature of the Public Protector’s powers, was the Committee not being “judgmental” in the report?
The Chairperson asked if this could not simply be deleted, leaving 21.2 intact, as it dealt with issues which had since been clarified by the court.
Ms PIlane-Majake said she had a problem with 21.2, which deals with the submission of reports. As there had been a view expressed that the Committee was having trouble receiving the Public Protector’s reports, it should read reports rather than limit the submissions to formal reports. She suggested that 20.7 rather read: “the Committee continues to doubt the participation of the South African Human Rights Commission in the Marikana Commission” and also that “the Committee is concerned about the additional funding of R3.3 million, which the Committee was not informed about”. This was because the additional funds could potentially be seen as justifying the participation of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) at Marikana.
The Chairperson asked if this was not water under the bridge, because as he understood it, the SAHRC was not participating as such, but was rather looking into the degrading socio-economic conditions which formed the context of Marikana. This was within the mandate of the SAHRC and was to the benefit of the broader community.
Ms Pilane-Majake said her concern remained that the Committee was not informed fully of what was happening regarding the actual participation and the funding. Further, the Marikana process was on-going and was the reason the Committee did not want the SAHRC involved in something which was before another forum. She suggested keeping the sentence open, by saying that the Committee continued to doubt the legitimacy of the participation, pending more information.
The Chairperson said it would be unfair to say that the Committee doubts the legitimacy of the participation, and should rather call for a report first.
Mr Smith said that throughout the report, key challenges and successes were addressed under each institution. On page 33, the last bullet says: “Sudden resistance to findings and rectifying maladministration remedies.” Therefore as it was reported there, there was no need for this to be reiterated in the Committee’s Observations on page 53, unless it wished to pronounce on it.
Mr B Bongo (ANC) asked for the drafters to clarify what was meant by “the Committee engaged rigorously with the Public Protector”.
The Chairperson said perhaps this meant on the issues surrounding its independence and accountability, but this had been resolved by the courts and therefore the sentence was not necessary.
Page 54: Observations on the Public Protector
Mr Bongo said 21.3 reads: “the findings did not cause the Auditor General to modify his report”. However, the Auditor General was not obliged to modify any report. It further reads: “the Committee accepts the Public Protector’s explanation that processes are under way, ” and he had said “we never accepted anything from the Public Protector”.
The Chairperson said the report indicated that the Public Protector had received an unqualified audit, yet later indicated that the Office must strive for a clean audit. He asked what the difference between the two was.
Ms Mothapo replied that you could have an unqualified audit with findings, and therefore it would not be a clean audit ,where there were no findings.
Mr Horn said the Public Protector had received an unqualified audit, with findings. The Public Protector further indicated that she had approached the Auditor General to argue the matters of emphasis, as had many of the other reporting institutions, such as the SIU. The Public Protector had further reported that measures were being put in place to deal with the findings.
Mr Mpumlwana said he was ”impressed” by what Mr Horn had said, because he had spoken of the Public Protector not accepting the opinion of the Auditor General. He thought the Public Protector would accept the remedial action of the Auditor General, given its binding nature. It was common practice that departments which did not agree with the Auditor General, still had to toe the line.
Ms Mothapo said 21.3 should be rephrased that nothing was accepted, although the explanation was noted.
Mr Bongo said 21.3 should be removed, because there was not going to be a debate on whether the Public Protector accepted the Auditor General’s findings. The Auditor General’s process included producing a management letter which indicates his findings and asks for the institution to justify. The Auditor General then explains why it is convinced or not, before the final report is produced. This process is fair and an entity cannot say after this that it is unhappy with the findings. Therefore, this sentence could be safely removed, while retaining the recognition of the findings in the Auditor General’s report.
Mr Maila said 21.3 should simply read as the Office of the Public Protector received an unqualified audit opinion, with matters of emphasis.
Mr Horn said although “nothing of the Public Protector is going to be accepted”, it should be noted that, like the SIU, this was an integrity institution and should strive for a clean audit.
Ms Silkstone said that the Committee had also requested to be regularly informed by the Public Protector, and perhaps this should take the form of quarterly reports.
Recommendations on Chapter Nine Institutions
Page 55: Recommendations on the Public Protector
The Chairperson said the Constitution obliges organs of state to support all Chapter Nine Institutions. He therefore said perhaps the Committee should accept the invitation to visit the office of the Public Protector, to see the challenges at first hand. This would give the Members proper information about what is happening in this important office.
Ms Pilane-Majake supported the suggestion, and said 21.10 should note that the Public Protector has requested additional funds and that the Committee requests a full report on the activities of the Public Protector, including comment on the overlapping mandates. This would then be followed up by a visit to the Public Protector’s office.
Mr Mpumlwana agreed, saying that he had previously raised concerns about the Public Protector requesting additional funds, despite outsourcing functions and the duplication of work due to overlapping mandates with other Chapter Nine Institutions. He had also requested the Public Protector to clarify the above at that meeting, but she had been unable to as there had not been time.
The Chairperson said that the Committee should not make findings yet. It should rather listen to the Public Protector and decide afterwards.
Mr Horn said the wording of 21.10 should be revised, because it was incorrect to say “new posts” when they come from a staff establishment approved by Parliament. What was requested was funds to fill the approved establishment and the gist of her argument was that the funds were deserved, because the establishment had been approved.
The Chairperson asked whether the establishment could not have been approved before the recession, and there was therefore a potential for intervening circumstances.
Ms PIlane-Majake said the report from the Public Protector should detail the number of cases received, details on the case backlog, the types of cases received and the number which could not be completed in the financial year. Once this was received and the office had been visited, the Committee would be in a position to make a decision on the establishment. Also, despite the approval of the structure, the Public Protector had received an additional “R19 million in additional funding,” which created a large gap between its funding and that of the SAHRC. For the purposes of the report, it should be noted that the Public Protector requested more funds and the Committee replied with a request for more information, which would be followed by a visit to her office.
Ms Breytenbach agreed with Mr Horn that these could not be described as new posts, with the Public Protector having previously received approval for an establishment comprising more than 500 posts, but which presently had a staff complement of around 200. She agreed with the visit to the office of the Public Protector, but felt this had nothing to do with the issue of the office deserving the funds for the establishment. Further, she disagreed with the need for a full report on all the cases being handled by the Public Protector, as this would be an immense document which would not really help to take the Committee forward. Perhaps looking at categories of cases or mandates would be more constructive than trawling through the massive amount of work done by the Public Protector.
The Chairperson said the Committee had criticised the Public Protector for not submitting her reports to Parliament, and had called for the additional information. Therefore it should await a response and at that point it should be decided what to do with the information provided. He then asked whether the Committee could move on to page 56.
Ms Breytenbach replied that only if the Committee had agreed on the redrafting of the paragraph could it move on.
The Chairperson said the Committee had not reviewed the organogram which was approved by Parliament and how could it reflect in the report that the Committee had made a decision on how to support the organogram.
Ms Pilane-Majake asked Ms Silkstone to relate what the Committee had requested the wording should be thus far.
Ms Silkstone replied that the paragraph would indicate that the Committee noted the request for funds to fill the staff establishment, and that a full report had been requested which would include information about the number, type and finalisation rate of cases. It would then go on to accept the proposal to visit the offices of the Public Protector.
Page 57: Recommendation on Chapter Nine Engagement
The Chairperson did not agree with the recommendation which read: “the Committee once again highlights the need for greater and more regular engagements between Parliament and Chapter Nines”. He disagreed, because these institutions accounted to Parliament, therefore the Committee should be up front and suggest regular reports, even quarterly reports, which could spark engagement if the need arises.
Mr Horn said there was the additional challenge of the full programme, and when the Committee would find the time to deal with quarterly reports. It therefore followed that Parliament should perhaps look into setting up a Committee for Chapter Nine institutions, similar to that of the Auditor General.
The Chairperson did not think there was capacity for this suggestion. If the reports had executive summaries of the issues, then they could be used to identify issues of national interest. Perhaps the problem was with the law, because it gave institutions such as the Public Protector the discretion to submit reports, unless requested to do so by the Speaker of the National Assembly. Perhaps it should be suggested that the reports be sent quarterly to the Office for Institutions Supporting Democracy (OISD), which could identify issues for Committees to take up. The present situation, where Chapter Nine institutions do the work and report at their leisure, was untenable.
Ms PIlane-Majake said recommendations 23.1 and 23.2 could be combined to suggest more regular meetings with Chapter Nine institutions and regular interaction with the OISD. The recommendations should also indicate that the Committee should finalise the Kadar Asmal Report reviewing Chapter Nine institutions. A recommendation should be inserted, requiring institutions which were responsible for fighting fraud and corruption, to report on the actual figures on maladministration to deal properly with the assumption of widespread fraud and corruption.
Page 58: Recommendations on Legal Aid South Africa & Conclusion
Mr Bongo said paragraph 23.6’s essence was that the Committee understands that funds are being made available over the MTEF to institutions fighting corruption. Having heard the statements of the Minister of Finance about the need to restrict budgets, perhaps an exception could be argued for Legal Aid South Africa (LASA), as it was going to require additional capacity to deal with the “new courts”. Given the general discouragement of additional allocations to entities generally, 23.6 should be deleted, particularly as the Committee was not necessarily in support of the Public Protector being allocated more money.
The Chairperson said that Mr Bongo was pre-empting the visit to the office of the Public Protector.
Mr Horn said the Committee was obviously mindful of the Minister of Finance indicating that there should be budget cuts, rather than additions. Given the way LASA operated and the fact that it was crucial to upholding the constitutional rights of many poor people and the expanded functions with new courts opening, it was the Committee’s duty at least to request additional funds. His point was that the Committee should be concerned with the merit of requests in its Report, rather than whether the National Treasury would grant the funds. The Committee should therefore support the requests for funds for LASA. He suspected that the Committee would not find each other on additional funds for the Public Protector, as “ANC Members have already packed their knives in their travel cases”. Perhaps if the workload of the Public Protector and SAHRC were looked at, it would be seen that they were under strain with the present budget allocation. The Committee should be mindful that it worked with the ideal, and not the executive decision to allocate.
The Chairperson said the Committee had agreed at an earlier point that there were overlapping mandates which unduly increased the workload of the various Chapter Nine institutions. The Committee had decided that the office of the Deputy Speaker was to convene a meeting of all the Chapter Nine institutions, to deal with the problems which have financial implications. The full picture must be kept in mind, including that Chapter Nine institutions had taken on unfunded mandates such as the Marikana Commission and received funding from bodies like the Human Rights Foundation.
Ms PIlane-Majake supported the sentiment regarding the additional funding requests for LASA’s operations in new courts. LASA had indicated that it would be covering 74 courts, with one advisor per court. She questioned whether this was the right approach, as a legal aid advisor would not be required at every sitting of every court. Perhaps the Committee should engage LASA on whether it could assign more than one court per advisor. She said paragraph 23.5 should be reconstructed to indicate that the increased capacity to deal with the new courts was supported, but the Committee should not necessarily commit itself to the full extent. She suggested part of the additional funding for LASA should be dedicated to remand detainees, because the Department of Correctional Services has identified these inmates as a way to alleviate overcrowding. She wanted it reflected that the Committee had discussed the need for civil matters to be taken on by LASA, as crime presently received a large portion of the budget. However, it should also be clear that people who could afford their own legal representation would not qualify for aid. She emphasised the potential to help women in maintenance matters.
The Chairperson said the Committee should agree with the expansion of courts, but should not deal with the particulars of the budget in this meeting. Further, that the government funded work of LASA that could potentially be done by paralegals and unemployed graduates. He then asked whether Members had any further input, as the Committee had run out of time.
Mr Horn asked when the Committee would sit to formally adopt the report.
The Chairperson replied that the following morning a draft of the final Report would be circulated to the Members at the meeting. He then declared the meeting adjourned.
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