Department of Correctional Services Budget and Strategic Plan

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Justice and Correctional Services

16 April 2015
Chairperson: Ms C Pilane-Majeke (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Correctional Services explained the links between the Department’s strategic planning documents and national priorities as contained in the National Development Plan; and how these priorities are targeted over the Medium Term Strategic Framework through specific indicators contained in either the Strategic Plan or Annual Performance Plan. This was done differentiating the specific targets that fall under the various programmes of the Department. The Department’s estimates of national expenditure were presented, indicating the reprioritisation efforts of the DCS, the allocations per programmes and per economic classifications, the allocations for the six regions and the 2015 Medium Term Expenditure Framework for JICS.

Several Members raised concern about the manner in which the strategic documents were presented to the Committee. Complaints included that the indicators provided did not convey the true extent of what is targeted, using only percentages, and that the targets themselves were not aligned with policy priorities of the Department. The Department agreed that the manner of presentation was flawed and undertook to improve it in the future.

Discussion on focal points included the Department still allocating a disproportionate amount of its budget to the incarceration and administration programmes to the detriment of the other three programmes; despite the White Paper on Corrections requiring the latter to be the focus. The Department’s response was that adjusting the baseline allocations for each programme would not solve the problem, because these programmes need to be capacitated and further that infrastructural concerns need to be addressed in order to facilitate these programmes functioning better. The Department was prioritising these programmes, as evidenced by the rehabilitation growing 6.6% on average, with social reintegration at 6.1%. A further concern was the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services’ independence from the Department, as the presentation of the Inspectorate’s strategic documents has been subsumed as part of the Department’s. The Department responded to these concerns by saying that the inclusion was done on instruction from the Ministry and was based on the fact that according to the Correctional Services Act the Inspectorate’s finances fell under the Department, which was therefore accountable for. The Department was ready to embark on the process to amend the legislation to make the Inspectorate fully independent, financially and administratively, but this process had to be started by the Ministry and carried through by Parliament. A third concern raised by Members was the progress with electronic monitoring and other technological interventions that the Department is to have carried out. The Department responded that electronic monitoring was being launched, with several hundred offenders having been tagged and de-tagged. Challenges were faced regarding the human resources required to properly monitor the progress and vehicles to respond to alerts. An ANC Member found this response unacceptable and asked that it to be shown how the Department was addressing these challenges in its budget, because if this was not being done then the funds used to launch the project were in danger of being classified as fruitless expenditure.

Meeting report

Mr Zacharia Modise, Acting National Commissioner Department of Correctional Services (DCS), appreciated the opportunity to present the DCS’ Strategic Plan and budget. The briefing would include the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) and take the form of a high level summary, to be elaborated in line with Member’s questions.

Briefing by Department of Correctional Services
Mr Terence Raseroka, Acting Chief Deputy Commissioner: Strategic Management, DCS, briefed the Committee on the DCS’ Strategic Plan 2015/16 to 2019/20 (the Strategic Plan). Part A covers the vision mission and values; legislative mandate; situational analysis; and outcome orientated goals. Part B deals with the strategic performance elements, resource considerations and risk management. While Part C links the plan with other plans and the Annual Performance plans.

The DCS takes its mandate from the Constitution, various pieces of legislation and various policy documents. The situational analysis covers three key areas: the performance environment looking into internal efficiency, the organisational environment that focuses on the performance delivery environment, and a description of the process that lead to the development of the Strategic Plan. Organisational environment key areas under consideration were staffing, ICT systems, finance and procurement, the structural alignment of the organisation and the Occupational Specific Dispensations (OSDs).

The Strategic Plan links to the 14 outcomes outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP) and the current administration, with the fight against crime and corruption being central. The focus is on NDP outcome 3: all people in South Africa are and feel safe rooted in Chapters 12 and 14 which specifically speaks to the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster. There are seven sub-outcomes contained in the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), the most important being reduced levels of contact crimes by contributing to reducing recidivism. This is to be achieved by ensuring that by 2019 80% of sentenced offenders are subjected to correctional programmes and 85% of probationers and parolees are without violations.

The DCS’ contribution to several of the 14 outcomes according to the Chapter is as follows, noting that several of the outcomes have associated performance indicators:

  • Chapter 7: Positioning South Africa in the World
  • Outcome 11: Create a better South Africa, a better Africa and better world; to this end the DCS was South Africa’s Chairperson of the African Correctional Services Association since it was launched in 2008. It also hosted an executive committee meeting attended by the heads of correctional services of several African countries.
  • Chapter 9: Improving Education, Training and Innovation
  • Outcome 1: Quality basic education is pursued by the DCS by ensuring there are school facilities in correctional centres and inmates are provided the opportunity to attend educational and skills programmes.
  • Outcome 5: skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path, is pursued through the Workplace Skills Plan which saw 21 063 officials subjected to training.
  • Chapter 10: Promoting Health
  • Outcome 2: a long and healthy life for all South Africans, here the DCS provides hospitals to ensure offender’s health is taken care of, which has seen 68.7% of inmates being tested for HIV as 31 March 2014. Further, food service units are resourced with the requisite staff, equipment and facilities.
  • Chapter 12: Building Safer Communities
  • Outcome 3: all people in South Africa are and feel safe, the DCS’ contribution here is that an average of 155000 inmates are incarcerated.
  • Chapter 13: Building a Capable and Developmental State
  • Outcomes12: an efficient, effective and development oriented public service. The DCS continues to pursue the professionalisation of correctional services through the establishment of Corrections Professional Council. 
  • Chapter 14: Fighting Corruption
  • Outcome 3: all people in South Africa are and feel safe. The DCS continues to aim to deal with officials who are involved in corrupt activities. For the 2014/15 financial year 41 officials were found guilty in disciplinary hearings, of these 41 officials 16 were dismissed and 12 were suspended without salary. In the previous 5 years 81 officials were dismissed, 5 demoted and 93 suspended without pay.
  • Chapter 15: Transforming Society and Uniting the Country
  • Outcome 14: Nation Building and Social Cohesion, to this end the DCS continues to strengthen its relationships with civil society organisations and communities and involves communities through victim-offender dialogues.

Medium Term Strategic Framework
Mr Raseroka said there are three key indicators which the DCS reports on to the Presidency and Cabinet. The first is “percentage of sentenced offenders subjected to correctional plans”, which the DCS aims to have at 68% in the present financial year and targets 80% by 2019/20.Second it would like to increase the percentage of parolees without violation to 95% in 2015/1, to reach 97% in 2019/20. Lastly, the percentage of probationers without violations is targeted at 94%, increasing to 97% in 2019/20.

On the DCS’ strategic outcome orientated goals, the three goals focus on remand detainees, sentenced offenders and social reintegration. The logic model had also largely remained the same, linking NDP outcome 3 to the DCS specific outcome: enhanced public safety and reduced reoffending. This is further reduced to specific intermediate an immediate outcomes.

There are still five programmes within the Estimated National Expenditure framework of the Department. Plans for the various programmes for the first year of the Strategic Plan are captured in the Annual Performance Plan 2015/16(APP), which are also linked to public/private partnership centres and other capital plans. The DCS has a total of 41 indicators for 2015/16, with 14 under the Programme 1: Administration, eight for Programme 2: Incarceration, seven for Programme 3: Rehabilitation, five in Programme 4: Care and seven in Programme 5:  Social Reintegration. 

Performance indicators for each sub-programme as per the Strategic Plan, correlating to the APP where applicable were:

Programme 1: administration

  • Management
  • Percentage of surveyed people rating correctional services performance positively
  • Integrated communications and marketing strategy developed and implemented.
  • Percentage of officials found guilty of corrupt activities
  • Percentage of finalised legal cases successfully defended by DCS
  • Percentage of correctional facilities and community corrections offices where IIMS and LAN infrastructure has been rolled out
  • Percentage of server and VIOP infrastructure rollout to correctional centres and community corrections offices
  • Percentage of VPN upgrades to correctional centres

A performance indicator for JICS was included under this sub-programme, which is the percentage of correctional facilities including Public/Private Partnerships (PPPs) inspected on the conditions and treatment of inmates. The APP indicator is percentage of unnatural deaths reports received from the DCS analysed, with feedback provided to stakeholders within 30 days.

  • Corporate Services
  • Percentage of funded posts filled per financial year
  • Number of officials trained in line with the Workplace Skills Plan
  • Percentage of management areas where IEHW is rolled out
  • Finance
  • Percentage of allocated budget spent per year
  • Number of audit qualifications

Programme 2: Incarceration

  • Security Operations
  • Percentage of inmates who escape from correctional and remand detention facilities per year
  • Percentage of inmates injured as a result of reported assaults in correctional and remand detention facilities per year
  • Percentage of unnatural deaths in correctional and remand detention facilities per year
  • Facilities
  • Number of new bed spaces created through construction of new facilities
  • Number of new bed-spaces created by upgrading of facilities annually
  • Remand Detention
  • Operational policies aligned with the White Paper on Remand Detention in South Africa implemented and monitored in remand detention facilities
  • Percentage of remand detention facilities where continuous risk assessment is rolled out
  • Offender Management
  • Percentage of overcrowding in correctional centres and remand detention in excess of approved capacity

Programme 3: Rehabilitation

  • Correctional Programmes
  • Percentage of sentenced offenders subjected to correctional programmes per year
  • Offender Development
  • Number of offenders who participate in Educational programmes per the daily attendance register per academic year (AET and FET)
  • Grade 12 pass rate obtained per academic year
  • Percentage of offenders who participate in skills development programmes measured against the list of offenders registered for participation as per enrolment register
  • Psychological Social and Spiritual Services
  • Percentage of incarcerated offenders and those sentenced to correctional supervision who are involved in social work services per year

Programme 4: Care

  • Health Care Services
  • Percentage of inmates on Anti-Retroviral Therapy
  • Percentage of inmates tested for HIV who know their results
  • TB (new pulmonary) cure rate of offenders
  • Nutritional Services
  • Percentage of therapeutic diets prescribed for inmates
  • Hygiene Services
  • Number of management areas with contracted health care waste services

Programme 5: Social Reintegration

  • Parole Administration
  • Percentage of offenders profiles submitted by CMC that were considered by CSPBs
  • Supervision
  • Percentage of parolees without violations
  • Percentage of probationers without violations
  • Percentage of persons (parolees, probationers and awaiting trial persons) placed under the electronic monitoring system
  • Community Reintegration
  • Number of victims/offended, parolees and probationers who participated in restorative justice programmes
  • Office Accommodation: Community Corrections
  • Number of new service points established in community corrections

2015 Estimates of National Expenditure
Ms Nandi Mareka, Deputy Commissioner: Financial and Management Accounting, DCS, briefed the Committee on allocations for the 2015 Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE), dealing with the reprioritisation efforts of the DCS, the allocations per programme and per economic classification, the allocations for the six regions and the 2015 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for JICS.

The focus of spending will be threefold: protecting society by safely and securely detaining inmates; correcting behaviour through needs-based rehabilitation programmes and focus on the communities through reintegration of offenders and effective management of community corrections.

When the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services presented the adjustment budget in 2014 and when the 2015 budget was tabled, said the economic outlook has not improved much and this is the basis of the allocation. Cabinet had approved this and communication had been received in October indicating that government departments were to receive cuts in baseline allocations. The baseline allocation being presented is reflective of these cuts. The allocation for 2015/16 is R20.61 billion in 2015/16 increasing to R21.85 billion in 2016/17 and reaching R23.13 billion in 2017/18. The increases are not real; they are nominal increases. The DCS is no longer vote 22 as in 2014; it is now vote 18. Baseline reductions over the medium term are R177.68 million in 2015/16, R222.6 million in 2016/17 and R245.2 million in 2017/18. The instruction from the Ministry was that the reductions must be effected without a negative impact on service delivery and therefore these had to be done in areas that would have the least impact, being goods and services. The devolution of funds for accommodation charges, leases and municipal services, from the Department of Public Works is set to increase from R1.86 billion in 2015/16 to R2.06 billion in 2017/18. Repair and maintenance of infrastructure is R172.57 million reducing to R159.35 million by 2017/18.

Budget cuts have mainly been done trying to not look at indirect costs related to the inmate population. They were effected from compensation of employees, although the DCS was wary of reducing the organisations post establishment as this had been experienced previously. Therefore, the reduction is R43.46 million in 2015/16 and R39.86 million in 2017/18 without reducing the number of posts in the establishments. Reductions were also effected to the goods and services allocations, including food for inmates and fuel, conscious of the normal inflationary adjustments being the guide for the amount. As all government departments have been instructed to absorb costs in excess of inflationary increases as projected in the MTE, reprioritisation has been done according to programmes that do not perform as planned. Further reductions were effected to payments for capital assets growing from R20.06 million to R100.12 million in 2017/18. When this was presented internally to the budget committee of the DCS it was made clear that the R177 million was not a luxury which the Department had and therefore close internal monitoring will be required to ensure there is no negative impact on service delivery. This will require timeous action to divert funds from under performing projects or programmes. Programme managers would still have to perform according to the APP and Strategic Plan’s targets, but where there is predicted under-spending due to under-performance is found then there will be a reprioritisation.

Programme 1: Administration
Various components are included including JICS, Government Information Technology Office and the Ministry. This is a labour intensive programme and most of the spending goes to compensation of employees and on goods and services. The programme has 5976 filled posts at 30 September 2014. Over the medium term the programme is planned to spend R11.81 billion which translates to 18% of the MTEF budget. Funds have been reprioritised towards ICT services, which is a focus over the medium term.

The JICS is an independent office under the control of the Inspecting Judge and is established under section 85 of the Correctional Services Act and under section 91 the DCS is responsible for all expenses of the JICS. She spoke to a table that depicted the allocations for JICS, which showed an increase from R19 million in 2009/10 to R45.36 million in 2014/15. This shows that the DCS was conscious of the financial constraints faced by JICS. Moving onto the projected allocations over the MTEF the allocation for 2015/16 is R47.02 million, growing to R53.11 million in 2017/18.

Programme 2: Incarceration
Also a labour intensive programme, particularly under the security sub programme. At 30 September 2014 there were 27 562 filled posts. The total projected allocation of the MTEF is R41.36 billion of the DCS’ total budget, which is R65.61 billion. For 2015/16 R6.5 billion has been allocated to the security sub programme for compensation of employees. Funds have been dedicated to improving security through staff supervision and tactical equipment such as bulletproof jackets and hand metal detectors. ARMSCOR is involved in this process, doing the bid committees, and at times procurement takes the form of imports, which leads to the process taking more than a financial year.  

There are exclusively appropriated funds for capital works projects. The allocation for 2015/16 here is R775.78 million growing to R826.29 million in 2017/18 directed towards 16 correctional centres and the construction of the Tzaneen Correctional Centre. This is set to result in an additional 4787 additional bed spaces. However, she admitted that this area was not one where the DCS was operating vary efficiently, with money being directed towards certain projects which are delayed, affecting the DCS’ expenditure. The DCS is focusing on monitoring the project management of these major projects. Smaller infrastructure projects are aimed at improving safety and security at correctional centres and remand detention facilities, including the security fencing programme and the upgrade and maintenance of integrated security systems.

Programme 3: Rehabilitation
This programme always has a vacancy rate higher than the DCS average, especially in the professional services components. Over the medium term the focus will be on empowering inmates with life skills

Programme 4: Care
This is a constrained programme, especially the sub programme on nutritional services where inflationary costs for food consume large parts of the allocation and the need to outsource the maintenance of boilers at two centres until DPW finalises this process. Another large sub programme is health, because this is where health practitioners are located.

Programme 5: Rehabilitation
This programme has the lowest average vacancy rate at 2%. Funds have been reprioritised to goods and services, because this was required to fund the numbers for electronic monitoring targeted over the MTEF.

Ms Mareka turned to the ENE per economic classification. The two largest areas are compensation of employees and goods and services. The bulk of the spending goes to compensation of employees under the administration and incarceration programmes which contain the majority of the 42 000 funded establishment. Under goods and services the majority of the cost lies in the agency and contractors for catering and food services for offenders. Municipal services, office accommodation and contractual repairs and maintenance of correctional services are part of the devolution from DPW. Electricity charges were an area of concern, because municipalities’ inflationary increases do not match the baseline allocation increase and can be increased by more than 4% beyond the inflationary increase. In 2014/15 funds had to be reprioritised, because the DCS had a shortfall of around R150 million. This will therefore have to be supplemented in the present year. On capital payments the bulk of the spending goes towards infrastructure spending, security, computer, transport, workshop and agricultural equipment. The DCS had presented its plans for reinvestment in the agricultural and workshop projects, which is not going as fast as would be liked. However, the allocation is being maintained over the MTEF, to ensure there are funds available for these projects.

Several sub programmes are funded centrally from the head office, including the two PPPs. The rest of the budget is allocated to the regions and totals R15.02 billion. Distribution amongst the regions is done according to inmate population, including parolees and probationers. The cost drivers within the Department include personnel with the funded establishment remaining at 42 006, which is projected to remain stable over the medium term. Another is the inmate population which is projected to grow from 155 108 to 156 644 in 2017/18. The average total parole and supervision population is set to increase from 72 796 to 92 077.

Mr J Selfe (DA) had questions about things that were not in the presentation. The previous year when the same presentation was made, it was said that the most indicative indicator that the DCS could provide regarding the success is the rate of re-offending. The DCS could provide all the numbers it wants about the numbers attending rehabilitation programmes, but in the end if the inmate reoffends then the programmes have not worked. There was an undertaking that this would be looked at and he would like comment on what has happened. He was concerned that the JICS budget has been subsumed by the DCS’ presentations of its strategic documents. The DCS would be aware of the persistent debates of JICS and that ideally it should have an independent allocation and present their budget independently of the DCS’. Despite this it has become one presentation and the JICS representatives are merely present to answer questions. He would like to know the status of the indicators that were given towards the end of the presentation on the Strategic Plan.

Mr Modise, on JICS, said the DCS has discussed this matter with the Ministry and there needs to be an amendment of legislation, which it is willing to assist with, in order for the JICS to be independent. However a number of questions have arisen, including what its function is to be as JICS’ function is similar to that of the South African Human Rights Commission and whether once the amendments are completed JICS will be a stand-alone entity, submitting its own budget. If the decision were taken by Parliament that the amendment will provide for JICS’ independence, the DCS team would gladly assist in this process. There was a commitment by the DCS to indicate the re-offending statistics. However, the DCS cannot do this on its own, collaboration with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the SAPS will be needed to define reoffending as committing the same crime twice or simply committing another offence. When DCS has done benchmarking it has found that other states differentiate between these two forms and there needs to be consensus in the cluster as to what re-offending entails.

Mr S Swart (ACDP) said the President in the State of the Nation address had announced a programme to fight Tuberculosis in correctional centres and he asked for an indication of how this is being practically implemented.  He also asked for an indication of the impact of the case Lee vs Minister of Justice and Correctional Services. He understood that significant litigation costs were incurred defending that matter, to expose the principle. He was concerned that there were two similar cases being vigorously opposed, that is Seedat and Spencer, particularly as these cases are on all fours with the principle of the Lee judgement. Considering budget constraints, he did not see why these matters were being pursued given that the Constitutional Court has ruled and he would like to know why they had not been settled if they were based on the same principle as Lee. He wanted to know what contingency for litigation costs was in place in the DCS, because a submission had been received from the Detention Justice Forum which indicated R984 million in contingent liability. While he understood that some cases did need to be taken to the end to establish a principle, once this has been done future cases should be settled to avoid litigation costs. This would for example open up the financial space to improve TB treatment.

Ms Britta Rotmann, Chief Deputy Commissioner: Remand Detention, DCS, was not familiar with the details of the two cases cited, but they may be distinguishable from the Lee. She undertook to come back with an answer having determined if they are in fact in line with the Lee case. Clear instructions have been received that cases are not to be pursued for pursuing them’s stake and if the merits are against the DCS the case should be settled. This is regularly being done, where there is going to be a saving for the Department. On contingent liability, this has been very high and this has been because letters of demand received are included. These are not necessarily a good indication of the actual liability of the Department; not only regarding the number of cases brought, but also the amount of liability. There had been a meeting with the Auditor General and a clear indication was given that the DCS should do a proper motivation as to at what point things are to be included in the Department’s contingent liability. The contingent liability would then be more realistic, if amounts are included only from the time of summons.

Mr James Smalberger, Chief Deputy Commissioner: Incarceration and Corrections DCS, said without hesitation as DCS TB has been managed in the past and the problem is a thing of the past. There is an open and sound relationship with the Department of Health nationally, provincially and at district and sub-district levels. This is also supported by the agreement and relationship with the “Global Fund” and Centre for Disease Control. Linked to these are the Presidential Emergency funds available to the Department. He summarised the current plan, saying the intention is to address TB in all correctional centres and there are direct objectives, including increasing TB testing, which requires HIV testing if the inmate tests positive. Making use of the electronic TB register, which means that if testing is done at a centre where there is the requisite equipment results are available within two hours or if off-site then within 24 hours. This allows for the treatment programme to be started immediately. The Department is in collaboration with the Department of Health to increase the awareness, diagnosis and treatment, through implementation of the Department of Health’s guidelines. This process should be rolled out in a phased manner, even to smaller centres, by the end of 2016. Currently the Department has 12 machines for testing TB, at the bigger facilities due to the higher number of offenders. These machines require a technician who is sponsored by the global funds, as the person needs to be trained. Through the current year’s bidding processes the DCS will be looking to increase the number of these machines in the possession of the Department. He noted that when the Pollsmoor machine was launched some public criticism was levelled, because people in communities have to wait in long queues, yet inmates are readily tested. This means that a balance must be struck when requesting more funds, but the President having raised the matter means it needs to be prioritised.

On the Lee judgement, Mr Smalberger said this has led to a revision of the policy in light of the judgment. It should be noted that the Lee judgment goes back to 1999 and Members who were on the Committee at that point will know the complete difference between the situation then and now. This was when the White Paper on Corrections was being drafted and some of the achievements since then include the introduction of several policy and legislative amendments. The last was to section 38 of the Correctional Services Act, which makes it mandatory for a six-hour initial assessment and a further more detailed assessment to be done within 24 hours of admitting an inmate. It is also required that health care staff are included in the assessment. This is an area being grappled, because there are issues with people who are admitted after normal working hours and whether this means that the assessment must be completed in the early hours of the morning. This has helped the situation, along with the presence of the equipment required for testing at the bigger centres. All parts of the Lee judgement that affect the DCS have been highlighted and the process for amending the policy is already underway.

Mr L Mpumlwana (ANC) asked whether people who are found to have TB are isolated; and if so how is this affecting the budget or space concerns and if not what contingencies are in place. He understood at some centres there were psychologists who had not seen a single inmate over four years, leading to their resignation. This resulted in life sentence inmate’s profiles not being sent to the Minister for that whole period. If this is the case has it been corrected? He asked what the goods and services and capital assets which subject to budget cuts are, and also the less performing assets where reprioritisation was to take place. On the incarceration budget, he understood that there is a large amount of money absorbed by personnel. The Committee had stressed the importance of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) in cells, assisted locking of cells and electronic tagging, as he believed this could aid in security and he asked how far the Department had gone with these efforts. If any potential violation of a constitutional right is possible then has the DCS investigated this and what was the result? On the care programme, he asked whether there was any partnership with the Department of Social Development regarding reintegration, which could assist parolees, or refer victims after the crime. This could also save the DCS money on hiring its own social workers. He wanted to know whether the products made by prisoners, such as furniture, are sold to the public or other Departments and if so do they raise any funds to assist with the DCS’ budget. He asked whether the inmates produce their own food and if so what percentage of the food required is produced.

Mr Modise said it was correct that there are products produced by inmates which are sold to other Departments and this results in funds which are paid into the National Revenue Fund.

Mr Smalberger was not aware of psychologists not doing any work for four years, because such a person did not belong in the Department.  The Committee will remember that under the previous administration psychologists are an area where both the country and DCS struggled. The DCS has struggled to fill the position of Head of Psychologists for almost five years and this was achieved at the end of 2014. The two deputy positions for the Psychologist directorate were also filled in February 2014. This provides senior leadership guidance to psychologists and positive results have already been seen. Stable leadership has provided a more structured interaction with psychologists within the DCS. This impacts directly on the profile reports to the Parole Board and there has been a major increase in submissions. There were three sessions with professionals, including psychologists, to share information from a senior level. This led to a clearer understanding of what is required in the psychologists’ reports to the Parole Board, the National Council and Minister regarding life sentence offenders. The stabilisation in the psychologist directorate has led to more community psychologists prepared to do their community service in correctional centres, at present there are 24. This translates to more psychologists opting to become permanent appointees. However, the vacancy remains at 33%, with 61 permanent employees and 27 vacancies. The DCS is in a much more manageable position regarding the psychologist directorate.

Ms Pumla Mathibela, Chief Deputy Commissioner: Community Corrections DCS, on partnerships with other government Departments, referrals are made to the relevant Department, based on the parolee’s needs. Specifically on the Department of Social Development, the partnership was between DCS psychologist and Department of Social Development psychologists on the counselling of victims when restorative justice or victim-offender dialogues are conducted. These partnerships also extend to NGOs and community structures.

Ms Mareka responded that products manufactured are sold to other Departments, national and provincial, and the inmates do refurbishments, for example school furniture for the Department of Basic Education. The DCS plans to collect a total of about R124 million in revenue, which is centralised in the National Revenue Fund. This excludes revenue from hiring out of offender labour to institutions such as SAPS and NGOs. The revenue produced from the sale of products is about 1% of the R124 million, but there is a direct correlation between the utilisation of DCS’ workshops and the recapitalisation of the workshops to push up production levels. Dilapidated equipment has a direct impact on production levels. While the DCS makes use of platforms such as meetings with National Treasury to push the procurement of its products, there are no direct sales to the public. When the DCS attempted to sell directly to the public, National Treasury said this would kill small businesses that are unable to compete with the DCS’ very low labour costs.

The Chairperson said the presentation is too numerical and if targets are only presented as percentages it becomes difficult to understand. Where the Department is trying to go should be easily discernable and the DCS has not indicated things like the distribution of inmates per province or what staff is stationed where. An indication of the distribution of facilities and details regarding female offenders could also be helpful. She asked for clarity on the way the DCS plans to work towards the NDP outcome of having a development oriented public service, because as she understood it the plan was to have all funded posts filled. On the ENE she was concerned that the allocation was still increasing and often the complaint is that infrastructure projects are a major cost. At some point major cost drivers will have to be normalised, leading to a decrease in the ENE. Ms Mareka had attempted to explain where the budget decreases are being done, but there is still an increase compared to the previous financial year’s budget. She questioned whether the implemented cuts have indeed reduced the ENE as expected. The percentage of the allocation for compensation of employees is very high reaching nearly R15 billion, where does this leave the operational budget for the actual running of prisons. Whether the DCS has performed or not has not been clearly demonstrated, nor have the justifications for annual increases or performance bonuses been made.

Mr Smalberger agreed that the presentation of strategic documents needed to be more accessible. The total inmate population is just under 160 000, with 44 000 remand detainees and 115 000 sentenced offenders. There are 1045 female remand detainees and 2993 sentenced offenders, meaning that roughly 156 000 of the inmate population is male.  There are eight centres where programmes for females can be administered, meaning there is at least one in each region and two in the larger regions.

Ms Mareka agreed that compensation of employees took about 68% of the allocation, however the move towards modernisation and electrification of security would lead to a reduction of security officials required. On average the growth of compensation of employees has been around 5.7%, as the funded staff establishment has remained stable.  Performance bonuses are part of the compensation budget and merit awards are paid to deserving officials having passed audit processes. The base for this in 2014/15 was around R100 million and this has been reduced because the compensation budget had to be cut without reducing the number of posts. This does not mean that merit awards are not going to be paid, but this will be closely monitored.

Mr V Smith (ANC) said the policy directive document for the DCS is the White Paper on Corrections and this has not been disputed; yet every year the budget allocations incrementally increase for the incarceration and administration programmes. While the care and rehabilitation programmes receive increases for basic things such as salaries and food, there is no indication of the Department being radically transformed, moving money away from incarceration to education for example. The budget cannot be designed by simply increasing each line item for inflation, because historically the budget has been skewed towards the incarceration programme. He suggested a fresh, zero basis for the budget has to be taken to enable the implementation of the new. It cannot be the situation that JICS does not have a separate costing structure, because having its budget fused into the administration programme means that it is not possible for JICS to properly account for its spending as the cost centre categorisation or programmatic structure is not shown. Parliament knows that JICS has had trouble with office accommodation, but there is no way the Committee can see how much was set aside for office accommodation for JICS. He did not know how DCS expected the Committee to approve the budget or conduct oversight where it cannot be seen how JICS plans to spend its budget and whether this is commensurate to the importance of its function. It must be explained why the position of last year was left. He did not understand how autonomous oversight will be conducted if the reporting is done together. On overcrowding, when this was raised the previous year the response was that a significant amount of money had been set aside for electronic monitoring. However, to date no official indication has been given of the costs, scope and benefit of the electronic monitoring project and he was aware that it has not worked. He wanted to know if value for money was obtained for the electronic monitoring.  The Auditor General indicated the over reliance on consultants. The Minister the previous day had said that consultants are a form of job creation and he accepted this, however on the other side of the coin it is also job destruction. In the Department there are consultants managing other consultants and some who have been in the DCS for more than two years.  For example the DCS will give money to the Independent Development Trust, which will in turn hire consultants for the planned infrastructure project. The question he was raising is whether it is not time for all the outsourced work to return to the Department in the interest of job creation. He agreed with the Chairperson that the way the targets are being presented is meaningless, because stating that 30% of inmates are to be trained cannot be measured. Rather, the Department’s target should for example state 1000 inmates will pass matric, because this is quantifiably measurable. He emphasised that Parliament is autonomous and has the right to ask hard questions.

Mr Modise said Mr Smith is correct that one of the main objectives of electronic monitoring was to help reduce overcrowding in correctional facilities. A contract is in place and is being monitored to check if value for money is being received. Courts are currently looking at using electronic monitoring for remand detainees and at present there is one remand detainee under electronic monitoring, with an application for a second. On the White Paper on Corrections, it was the DCS’ understanding that this was a journey that needs to be funded and for the DCS to be able to start the journey it decided to establish the two PPPs, to indicate the change in direction. At one of these facilities there are structured day programmes, absolutely no overcrowding and the staff which implements the corrective programmes are highly skilled. After the two PPPs were established the DCS focused on Malmesbury, Goodwood and the Kimberly correctional centres, with the aim of changing the face of corrections within the country. The majority of the 243 correctional centres in the country were built during the old era where corrections were synonymous with incarceration. No room was made for rehabilitation or reintegration efforts and the White Paper aimed to charter a new course. The White Paper indicates a number of areas that are cause for concern, one being the state of the corrections facilities that are at times inhumane. Secondly it aims to change the state of mind of the officials, because many of these officials are from the era where corrections only dealt with incarceration and are unable to meaningfully depart from the incarceration focus. The new model includes education, which there is simply no space for in some correctional facilities. Overcrowding adds to the problem, because with the new double-bunking system introduced the number of inmates accommodated doubles, but the staff complement remains the same leading to low morale. What is required is a significant increase in the budget of the Department, to facilitate an infrastructural programme that will be able to take the White Paper forward. Until this is done the “warehousing of offenders” will continue at state run correctional facilities.

Ms Rotmann agreed that there was one remand detainee under electronic monitoring. From this a number of challenges have been exposed, mainly relating to the interaction between the various role-players including the NPA, SAPS, courts and the DCS. Extensive consultations took place within the DCS and with the other role-players to come up with a protocol to deal with these challenges.  An example of a challenge is who decides where the awaiting trial prisoner will be able to reside. When the decision of the court is handed down, the electronic monitoring control room will decide on exclusion and inclusion zones. What happens is that the investigating officer will make the decision whether the person can change their residence and a protocol needs to be in place to communicate this. The protocol has been presented to the National Operating Committee of the NEEC of the Chief Justice and the judiciary’s input is awaited.

Mr Smalberger agreed with the concern about statistics, however the detailed information is available to be provided in quarterly reports, indicating what the actual figures the percentages speak to or how many inmates an indicator targets. The advice is useful in determining the balance between responding promptly to what the Committee wants to see and the details of the information.

Ms Mathibela said community corrections had a caseload of 70500, with the majority being probationers, parolees and persons awaiting trial. On the value for money received for electronic monitoring she said the service provider is being closely monitored to see what is being provided. The contract was awarded to Engineering Systems Solutions on 23 May 2014. Since the inception of the system, 1009 people have been tagged and 405 de-tagged, therefore there are currently 604 people in the electronic monitoring system. Electronic monitoring is aimed at helping reduce overcrowding, although presently it is being used as an additional condition to parole. It is also being investigated as an alternative sentence option and has been applied to persons awaiting trial. Challenges in the area include not having dedicated human resources to monitor and with vehicles for quick response where there is an alert. There are problems with other equipment such as cell phones.

Ms Mareka said JICS does have a costing structure, although it is not a sub programme. The DCS has considered the matter internally and amendments to section 91 would be required to make JICS a self-accounting entity. Within the law at present, JICS could be a sub programme and National Treasury would have to be engaged to this end. This process has been packaged for engagement during the MTEF interactions. So that while the law is being amended, the sub programme of JICS can be visible and what the historical allocations and projected allocations can be seen by anyone. On increasing the budget along line items, there is not going to be an increase in the allocation. The first step in the MTEF process is to have all programme managers, branches and regional commissioners to do a reprioritisation within their allocated baseline to key policy areas. Where a component has not been prioritised properly, then the proposal is rejected, as it must be clear what baseline items the money is coming from and where it is being re-allocated. This must be done between the policy priorities and the reprioritisation. By the time the reprioritisation is presented to the budget committee of the DCS, the impact on the areas where the money is coming from needs to be assessed.  If the rehabilitation programme is looked at year on year a drop of 1.23% is seen, however there has in fact been an increase on goods and services and capital expenditure. The reprioritisation was taken from compensation of employees to fund these other aspects of the programme. In the quarterly report presented to the Committee, there were areas where the staff establishment needed to be cleaned up and where a person was in fact rendering their services under a specific programme then officials in the staff establishment must be moved to where they in fact operate. The funds for that person’s compensation will then follow the re-listing. Two regions requested to have officials moved in this way and if it were not for that then a slight increase in the allocation would be visible for rehabilitation. The average growth of the rehabilitation is 6.6%, much more than any other programme other than social re-integration at 6.1%, which is evidence of the focus on rehabilitation.  The DCS said to National Treasury that to not invest in agriculture and workshops, would be self-defeating, because in the end more money would be required from the fiscus. This is why reprioritisation is geared towards these two areas, up until the time when the fiscus can afford the money required to fully invest in this project. For the DCS to be more productive in this area, the dilapidated agricultural equipment needs to be renewed. She agreed that if the White Paper is looked at with the allocations across programmes, then the focus on rehabilitation and social reintegration is not evident and incarceration remains the largest programme with the most staff dedicated to it in the approved establishment. It will take time to revamp these two critical areas it cannot be done by just reprioritising the baseline and further the programmes need to be captivated to spend the reprioritised funds.

The Chairperson said Members had lost the opportunity of further engaging the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services on the involvement of JICS in processes of this nature, a matter that needs further discussion. While she heard the complaint about ailing infrastructure, perhaps looking at the staff compensation allocation would provide the space to attend to such issues. The Minister of Finance in his budget speech stated that a moratorium must be put on posts, which have been vacant for more than two years. The presentation did not give an indication of how long posts have been vacant and the intentions regarding such posts. She emphasised that the reason for a shortage of funds could be the skewed allocation towards salaries, at the expense of quality rehabilitation and care programmes. The Committee had also heard of farms belonging to the Department that are not being utilised and she hoped that in future the Department can tell the Committee that these farms are now in use, with new equipment. As this is part of rehabilitation and skills development, by allowing inmates to be released with a skill. She said the Committee has not heard from the Government Information and Technology Officer (GITO) directorate and this is a critical part of the interventions spoken of in the past, such as CCTV systems and biometric security systems. Initially the intention was to roll out the interventions within five years and in 2014 the intention had been to have it rolled out within two years. The Committee would like to see the roll out within the next two years, because this will greatly aid security within prisons. It had been indicated that because of the provisions of the White Paper more funds are required for its implementation, but she felt that the good provisions could be adopted step by step. This would avoid the Department being allowed to have reasons for not progressing and therefore she recommended looking at the White Paper and seeing what can be done with the fairly large budget of the DCS. There was a complaint that some staff within the DCS is still geared towards the old style of corrections focused on incarceration rather than rehabilitation, however the entire scenario needs to be studied in light of the mandate and a plan made to maximise the utilisation of human resources. Perhaps the DCS should consider formulating a turnaround strategy, which would include restructuring the staffing component towards the goals of the DCS. On the lack of space for rehabilitation, she said allocating time to various services in the same space, in an innovative manner would allow the space to be better utilised.

Judge Vuka Tshabalala Judge, Inspecting Judge JICS, said the partnership arrangement with DCS was not the first prize, as the intention all along has been to have JICS as a financially independent institution. JICS had prepared its own strategic plan and the Minister has indicated that a strategic plan should be submitted. On the budget, the DCS is responsible under the Correctional Services Act. More than half of the JICS staff are on contracts, because there are no guaranteed funds to employ staff on a permanent basis. JICS would not like this to be the permanent situation and while the Act states that JICS must be funded by DCS, JICS would like to be completely independent.

Ms Nthabiseng Mosupye, Chief Deputy Commissioner: GITO DCS said an allocation has been made to ICT, but this has been cut along the lines explained by Ms Mareka above. The plans for this directorate are in line with the allocation, which dictates the amount of work that could be done. This does not mean that within the five-year period no maintenance will be done. Based on the settlement agreement, the DCS could only accommodate the scope of work originally defined within the RDOMS. Anything that was to come after the scope of work was completed was not in line with settlement agreement. Therefore, what has been done to date is in line with the settlement agreement that ended in March. Going forward the DCS will be putting out tenders to accommodate all the changes required by legislation and the policy of the Department. On cell phone blocking, as an example, tests have been done and according to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act this cannot be done as this impacts on communities, which may lead to blocked signals in an emergency situation. Therefore, cell phone tracking is being investigated to ensure that every cell phone signal that occurs in correctional centres can be detected within 12m2 radius. The five-year plan in short is to accommodate the allocation that the directorate has and to keep up with any legislative changes that may occur.

The Chairperson said she was still unclear and was concerned that no work had been done since the last meeting in 2014. Also what is the nature of the impact of cell phone blocking on communities and what is the radius of the cell phone blocking to be implemented. 

Mr Selfe said there were indicators which are drawn from the strategic plan and specifically: “to root out corrupt activities in the Department”, which has a baseline of 92.7% which translates to 69 officials found guilty of corrupt activities in 2014/15. Something dramatically good had to have happened for corruption to suddenly disappear from the Department or these figures are simply wrong. Looking at the 2011/12 annual report there were 163 officials charged with fraud, corruption or serious maladministration. He has problems accepting the integrity of figures, because they change drastically year on year and he simply did not believe that there were only 69 officials in the DCS found guilty of corrupt activities in the past year. The issue raised by Mr Swart around legal issues successfully defended and there is a target of 75%; Departments do what they are measured on and if this target is present, then matters will be defended, rather than settled. He therefore, had a problem with what is being measured; specifically whether what is being measured speaks to the efficiency of the Department and achievement of the strategic goals it has set for itself.

Ms Rotmann said the indicator only speaks to the number of officials who had been charged under section 95 of the Correctional Services Act and been found guilty and it would not indicate the total statistic on corruption. Periodic awareness campaigns are run within correctional facilities and this leads to increased reporting, however this is not reflected in this indicator. On successfully defending cases, this is a change from defending 100% of cases and this indicator is geared towards showing how many of the cases defended are done so successfully. There is no longer a policy of defending all cases and a decision is made prior to defending whether it would be better to settle or ultimately lead to a withdrawal by the applicant. This is aimed at encouraging a determination of how to properly handle a case brought against the DCS. It is also for this reason that the target has come down, because if the target is to defend 99% of all defendable cases this would not encourage the Department do defend cases where success is likely. 

Mr Mpumlwana said he had specifically asked whether TB patients are isolated and if so how does this affect the budget and space concerns, and what specific goods and services or capital assists were being referred to for reprioritisation. The reason the term prison was replaced with correctional services is serious and the move towards corrections needs to be in earnest. There are two aspects to this: one of them is to move from the idea of incarceration to rehabilitation. There needs to be an independent person making sure this is the case. There are many organisations concerned with human rights including the Public Protector and South African Human Rights Commission, and it cannot be the case that the one specifically concerned with the DCS’s activities is part of the DCS. He agreed that the law should be changed and hoped the Department had an appreciation of this. He asked what criteria are used to decide on sending people to PPPs, because there seem to be better services there. On re-offending, what should be of concern is that re-offending of any sort is not done rather than only the same crime. Rehabilitation programmes in place are important, because society has the expectation that when a person comes out of prison they are not going to re-offend.  He asked whether there were lawyers employed by the DCS who do not get involved in cases and merely refer matters to private practice, which was a concern in other departments as well. On the electronic monitoring, he asked whether service providers must always be relied on and does this not compromise security. Would it not be better to train people and simply purchase the equipment? There may be legal implications if the monitoring is done by a third party, because the offender would be able to create reasonable doubt about their purported violation if the DCS has to reply on outside information.

Mr Modise said perhaps the DCS has been misunderstood regarding its commitment to the independence of JICS. The DCS as a collective is ready to move towards the amendments to ensure that JICS is independent, but the decision lies with the Committee and politicians. Public servants do what they are instructed to do and can only operate within the parameters of the law. Interactions have been had between DCS and JICS where this readiness had been indicated. On TB treatment, when an inmate is diagnosed with TB there is a regime of treatment that follows. The medical staff will determine where the offender is to be accommodated, depending on what level they are housed and the condition of their health. If the offender is resistant to treatment, they are removed from other offenders. With the help of the Department of Health, even when inmates are released the treatment is able to continue.

Ms Mosupye said the equipment is procured from a service provider, however DCS officials do the actual monitoring.

Mr Smith said the officials who had responded on the electronic monitoring had said it is working, but there are challenges. He wanted it to be shown where the challenges are being addressed budget wise. If vehicles and staff are required, but they have not been budgeted for, then this means that the following year the DCS will raise the same excuses. Large amounts of money cannot be spent on a project, only to have the Department say it forgot about vehicles and human resources. He warned that this will constitute fruitless expenditure, the Department will be called before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and someone will have to account for the expenditure.  The challenges addressed must be shown. He wanted GITO to present in writing the piece of legislation from ICASA that is restricting the Department from implementing the cellular signal jamming. It is possible to jam signal in a single room and there is equipment to do this. Therefore, the Department cannot say that it is not possible. He would argue that it is better to change that legislation, than allow the situation to continue. Prisoners today are running syndicates from within correctional facilities and he was in the position to give the names of these prisoners. He wanted government to balance whether the ICASA argument, is stronger than the argument that people are being murdered because of cell phones in prison. He wanted it to be in writing, because he wanted to raise it with the Minister and at the budget speech, because South Africa ought to be able to decide which of the above arguments should win. If funding constraints was stopping the Department he would be able to understand, but it cannot be legislation. Lastly, on PPPs these cannot be compared with state prisons, because by design they are not overcrowded leading to better rehabilitation efforts. Secondly, the cost of an inmate in a private prison and state prisons are completely different. Therefore, these cannot be compared or set as a model until the inmate population in state prisons is reduced. Therefore, the infrastructure program has to be fast tracked, because unless this is done the rehabilitation cannot be done. The Committee has to argue that modernisation of the infrastructure must be done and unless this is done the White Paper will not be worth the paper it is written on. As the Minister indicated the bilaterals with the Department of Public Works need to be concluded, otherwise money will continue to be spent and targets not reached.

Mr Modise agreed that the request for written answers would be complied with.

Ms Mosupye said the Minister has given a directive that the budget should display the shift from incarcerations to community corrections and the Department is engaged with this.

Ms S Shope-Sithole (ANC) said she had hoped there would be a figure indicating the quantity allocated for an incentive scheme for DCS employees. Simply to bring up their morale, because they work in a very difficult environment. She would also like to see a figure around staff empowerment, such as training in their areas of work. This would also encourage people to join the DCS, particularly as the DCS is a challenging environment. On the manufacture of furniture, she would like to know who in National Treasury made that decision. It is important that something is done to show the South African population that some good things are coming out of the DCS. It was debatable whether this would harm small businesses. She asked whether the DCS works with the Inspector General of Intelligence, because they may be able to assist with the cell phone jamming.

Mr Modise agreed that this was difficult work and in the establishment there are roughly 40000 people who put their lives on the line to ensure inmates are kept in safe conditions. Without these people doing this work, crime in South Africa would reach unprecedented levels. On incentives, for level 12 downwards there are merit bonuses for those who qualify, but for level 13 and up there are no merit bonuses, although they may qualify for salary progressions. This has been a conscious decision, because of audit findings that senior management must take responsibility for the performance of the Department. On outreach, the DCS should indicate to the Committee what efforts are in place to bring communities into the fold and inform them about what the DCS is doing such as refurbishing houses and schools. The DCS works closely with the SAPS and other Departments, therefore the Department is at an advanced stage with cell phone jamming.  While it is admitted that gangsterism does take place in correctional facilities, this phenomenon does not originate from prisons. Rather, the people involved come from communities and only “graduate” into correctional facilities. A collective effort needs to be made to deal with the problem starting in communities. Therefore, DCS works closely with the Inspector General of Intelligence and Commissioner for Police. At a regional level all regional commissioners are members of prop-joints, where strategies are being designed to fight crime in facilities and communities.

Mr M Maila (ANC) said the DCS has identified a change of legislation as a remedy for the independence of JICS; he would like to know if the process has started and if not, when is it likely to start. On overcrowding, he asked for figures the ratio of officials to inmates and what is the desired situation.

Mr Modise said the legislative process has not been started, but given the discussions in the Committee the DCS must move with urgency to take the matter up with the Minister, to look at what alternative will make JICS fully independent. Overcrowding levels and ratio of official to offender will be provided in writing. However, overcrowding is generally concentrated in urban centres. If DCS only had to accommodate sentenced offenders then there would be no overcrowding. However, because of the Cabinet decision that remand detainees are sent to correctional facilities, to allow SAPS to concentrate more on policing activities the DCS has to accommodate remandees and therefore it looked at its infrastructure needs. A number of years have been lost in keeping infrastructure in line with the DCS’ needs. Decisions by the Committee and Cabinet that the PPPs should be stopped have been made. This opportunity has been lost, but a modified approach could have been the solution. For example the operations of the facility could be done by the state, while the building is leased from private entities. Within the next three years infrastructure plans must provide an additional 20 000 beds. The programme that was stopped around three years ago is being restarted and upon ministerial approval the Department will inform the Committee about the plans.

Ms M Mothapo (ANC) asked about the number of centres which have been supplied with uniforms for remand detainees, how many centres remain, the name of the service providers for the uniforms, the budget for the project and when the project will be completed.

Mr Modise said the detailed information would be provided in writing, although he could say that the roll out began in Mthatha. He noted that only the material is procured and sentenced inmates do the actual manufacture of the uniforms.

Ms Rotmann said this is done through a National Treasury transversal agreement and there are a number of service providers for different parts of the uniform. Currently there has been a roll out to 36 centres, with the balance to be completed in the present financial year. The budget was R31 million and becomes a maintenance budget from then on.

The Chairperson said anything requested in writing is to be directed at the National Commissioner’s Office, because this is the office reporting to the Committee. She asked for a report on the organisation structure of the Department to be included in future presentations, because this would inform the Committee about who is placed where and what skills they are supposed to have.

Mr Modise agreed that when presentations are done, all the relevant information will be provided. It has been realised during this meeting that there is a gap that could be closed by the DCS itself.

The Chairperson said the answer on the moratorium on vacant positions should be included in the ICT report requested, indicating how many positions were vacant, how much was not spent and what was done with the funds. It is important to focus on transformation and the information presented should indicate the level of transformation.

The Chairperson declared the meeting adjourned. 

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