The Department of Correctional Services briefed the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on its third quarter performance for 2015/16.
The National Commissioner, in his introductory remarks, informed the Committee that the Department had a very successful campaign in dealing with escapes from jail. The Department also had an engagement with the Sonke Gender Justice, and it was taking the suspension of the KwaZulu-Natal Regional Commissioner on its shoulders and it was awaiting the outcome of the Labour Court.
The National Commissioner indicated areas of interest were around the programmes of administration, incarceration and social reintegration. The objectives were set at the beginning of the year of what needed to be done nationally so that it could filter down to the provinces. Challenges were on gangsterism inside correctional centres, unnatural deaths and escapes. These were serving as indicators of whether the DCS was delivering on its mandate or not.
The Department told the Committee it was still going to verify and validate performance information submitted, and for targets not achieved, there would be remedial measures to ensure that targets are achieved by the end of the financial year. Quarterly review sessions would be conducted towards the end of February to further validate what was submitted.
The Department focused its presentation on the five programme areas of the Department. On the Administration Programme, 30% of targets had been achieved. Of the 14 targets set under the programme, 3 targets have been achieved, 7 targets were not achieved, and the remaining 4 targets are measured annually. The actual spending of R2, 823 billion against the spending plan of R2, 693 billion resulted in R130 million overspending. The overspending on goods and services was mainly on fleet services and ageing vehicles.
Regarding the Incarceration Programme, 27% of targets had been achieved. Of the 13 targets set under the programme, 3 targets were achieved, 8 targets were not achieved, and 2 are measured annually. The actual spending of R9, 495 billion against the spending plan of R9, 738 billion resulted in an underspending of R243 million which is mainly on Compensation of Employees due to funded vacancies.
Concerning the Rehabilitation Programme, 50% of targets were achieved. Of the 9 targets set under the programme, 4 were achieved, 4 were not achieved, and 1 was measured annually. A considerable number of inmates were benefiting from psychological and spiritual services. The actual spending of R811 million against the spending plan of R841 million resulted in an underspending of R30 million.
With regard to the Care Programme, 100% of targets were achieved. All 5 targets were met. The actual spending of R1, 475 billion against the spending plan of R1, 336 billion resulted in an overspending of R139, 4 million, mainly on Goods and Services and ongoing support services for Nutritional Services at Free State and Northern Cape.
About the Social Reintegration Programme, 57% of targets were achieved. Of the 7 targets set under the programme, 4 targets were achieved, and 3 were not achieved. The actual spending of R669 million against the spending plan of R672 million resulted in an underspending of R3 million, mainly on Compensation of Employees due to vacancy rates.
Members wanted to know what could be the other contributors to the high vacancy rates in the incarceration, rehabilitation and reintegration programmes besides the pension problems; wanted to know why psychologists and social workers are not employed because some of these vacancies are a result of a shortage of them; wanted to find out how long has the problem of dysfunctional boilers been going on in nutritional services at two correctional centres in the Free State; asked how the DCS was planning to address the problem of overcrowding in jails because legal actions are being taken against the Department as some inmates contract diseases while in prison; wanted to know what the reasons were for the suspension of the KZN Regional Commissioner because the Committee was not briefed on the matter; and wanted to know what the difficulties are in forming and sustaining partnerships with organisations like NICRO and other NGOs.
Briefing by Department of Correctional Services (DCS)
Mr Joseph Katenga, Chief Deputy Commissioner of Strategic Management, DCS, briefed the Committee on the third quarter performance of the Department for 2015/16. He focused on the five programme areas of the Department: administration, incarceration, rehabilitation, care, and social reintegration.
Programme 1: Administration
30% of targets had been achieved. Of the 14 targets set under the programme, 3 targets had been achieved, 7 targets were not achieved, and the remaining 4 targets were measured annually. A number of officials were trained in line with the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP). A percentage of officials were found guilty of corrupt activities. There had also been an infrastructure rollout to correctional centres and community correction offices. The following performance indicators were not achieved:
- percentage of surveyed people rating correctional services performance positively
- integrated communication and marketing strategy developed and implemented
- percentage of finalised legal cases successfully defended by DCS
- percentages of unnatural deaths reports received from the DCS analysed and feedback provided to stakeholders within 30 days
- percentage of correctional facilities and community corrections offices where Integrated Inmate Management System and LAN Infrastructure is rolled out
- percentage of correctional facilities including PPPs inspected on the conditions and treatment of inmates
The actual spending of R2, 823 billion against the spending plan of R2, 693 billion resulted in R130 million overspending. The overspending on goods and services was mainly on fleet services and ageing vehicles. The actual spending on fleet services was R123 million against the spending plan of R70 million, thus resulting in an overspending of R53 million.
Programme 2: Incarceration
27% of targets had been achieved in this category. Of the 13 targets set under the programme, 3 targets were achieved, 8 targets were not achieved, and 2 were measured annually. Operational Policies aligned with the White Paper on Remand Detention were implemented and monitored in Remand Detention Facilities. The draft procedure manual on application for bail review were consulted with the regions of Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Free State, Western Cape, and Northern Cape. The draft procedure manual on temporary release of Remand Detentions to SAPS was consulted with the regions of Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Performance indicators not achieved, amongst others, included:
- 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
- draft policy on remand detention management consulted with the National Management Committee
- draft procedure manual on disciplinary system consulted with NATMANCO
- draft procedure manual on privilege system consulted with NATMANCO
The actual spending of R9, 495 billion against the spending plan of R9, 738 billion resulted in an underspending of R243 million which was mainly on Compensation of Employees due to funded vacancies.
Programme 3: Rehabilitation
50% of targets were achieved in this category. Of the 9 targets set under the programme, 4 were achieved, 4 were not achieved, and 1 was measured annually. A considerable number of inmates were benefiting from psychological and spiritual services. A number of offenders are participating in the educational programmes per the daily attendance register per academic year. Some of the performance indicators not achieved included the:
- percentage of sentenced offenders subjected to correctional programmes per year
- percentage of incarcerated offenders and those sentenced to correctional supervision who are involved in social work services per year
- percentage of offenders who participate in skills development programmes measured against the list of offenders registered for participation as per enrolment register
- number of offenders who participate in educational programmes per the daily attendance register per academic year
The actual spending of R811 million against the spending plan of R841 million resulted in an underspending of R30 million. This was mainly on goods and services for consumable supplies and clothing materials and accessories due to the delays in the delivery of inventory materials for inmates.
Programme 4: Care
100% of targets were achieved in this category. All 5 targets were met. Performance indicators achieved included:
- percentage of inmates currently on Antiretroviral Therapy
- TB cure rate of offenders
- percentage of inmates tested for HIV who know their status
- percentage of therapeutic diets prescribed for inmates
- number of Management Areas with contracted health care waste services
The actual spending of R1, 475 billion against the spending plan of R1, 336 billion resulted in an overspending of R139, 4 million, mainly on Goods and Services and ongoing support services for Nutritional Services in Free State and Northern Cape.
Programme 5: Social Reintegration
57% of targets were achieved in this category. Of the 7 targets set under the programme, 4 targets were achieved, and 3 were not achieved. The following performance indicators were achieved:
- percentage of offenders’ profiles submitted by the Case Management Committee that were considered by the CSPBs
- percentage of parolees without violations per annum
- percentage of probationers without violations per annum
- number of new service points established in community corrections
Performance indicators not achieved:
- percentage of persons (parolees and probationers and persons awaiting trial) placed under the electronic monitoring system
- number of victims/offended, parolees and probationers who participated in Restorative Justice programmes
- percentage of parolees and probationers reintegrated back into communities through halfway house partnership
The actual spending of R669 million against the spending plan of R672 million resulted in an underspending of R3 million, mainly on Compensation of Employees due to vacancy rates.
Commissioner Katenga concluded by saying the Department was still going to verify and validate performance information submitted. For targets not achieved, there would be remedial measures to ensure the targets were achieved by the end of the financial year. Quarterly review sessions would be conducted towards the end of February to further validate what was submitted. The third quarter actual performance information would be submitted when submitting the fourth quarter preliminary report (in line with the DPME Reporting Guidelines).
(Tables and graphs were shown to illustrate budget allocation and expenditure per programme and per economic classification)
The Committee also briefly heard that the forensic investigation for monitoring was waiting for the President on the proclamation of the tender. The Committee was also informed that the MSW investigation has been cancelled and handed over to the Hawks because there were concerns on the projects in which it was established.
Mr J Selfe (DA) indicated that the vacancy rates were high in the incarceration, rehabilitation and reintegration programmes and asked what could be the other contributors besides the pension problems. He further wanted to know what was holding things up in these programmes because it appeared that some of the things were easy to achieve if you do them.
Mr Zach Modise, National Commissioner, DCS, in trying to respond to both questions, explained that a number of issues, especially administration related ones, had to be taken by the National Management Board and unfortunately, that had not yet happened.
Mr James Smalberger, Chief Deputy Commissioner of Incarceration and Corrections, DCS, added that the Department had not had a baseline but adopted a system it thought would work. That was why it was not meeting the current targets. The reports of social workers had to talk with those of the psychologists.
Mr L Mpumlwana (ANC) wanted to know why psychologists and social workers were not employed because some of these vacancies were a result of a shortage of them. The suspension of the KZN Regional Commissioner could have been handled better and now more money had to be spent on legal fees. Lastly, he pointed out that the hundreds of resignations the DCS was experiencing could stem from the fact that not much information had been communicated to staff about the new finance law that was going to be implemented soon.
Mr Modise, on the shortage of psychologists and social workers, replied that the DCS transferred prisoners that need the services of these two professions to nearby centres that offered these services because it was not helping to keep them in an institution that did not have these services. Regarding the suspension of the KZN Regional Commissioner, the Department had considered the legal costs but decided that his (the Regional Commissioner) presence in the service of the state would be a challenge. The DCS was still awaiting the outcome of the Labour Court case. Concerning resignations, he indicated that some of these resignations were at a low level of the incarceration, rehabilitation and reintegration programmes. He pointed out there were also service terminations. These were increasing at a high rate. The DCS had received reports that had not been finalised yet by provinces on this area of concern. Programmes 4 and 5 were in place to fill in the existing vacancies. Some problems were a result of resignations of senior officials and those posts had to be filled in by people who were in lower grades and this was affecting the Compensation Budget. The resignation problem wass compounded by the lack of recognition of experience. The DCS does not have a promotion policy. People got promoted when they responded to a newspaper job advertisement. If one was successful, then one got the chance to be promoted to that post. It had been suggested that the DCS should try to adopt the system that was used by SAPS and SANDF when it came to promotions.
Ms M Mothapo (ANC) asked for how long had the problem of dysfunctional boilers been going on in nutritional services at two correctional centres in the Free State. In addition, she asked how the DCS was planning to address the problem of overcrowding in jails because legal actions were being taken against the Department as some inmates contracted diseases while in prison.
Mr Modise, with regard to the dysfunctional boilers, reported that the boilers were in a bad state that they were not providing service at all. Now new boilers had been put up. This had also been addressed in other institutions. The Department inherited facilities that needed a speedy rehabilitation. A Refurbishment Plan for all the centres would be tabled to the Committee for consideration. Concerning overcrowding, it remained a challenge and in soe reasons, it had been managed successfully, but in some it had not worked. Strategies needed to be adapted to suit the regions that were experiencing an increase. The parole system needed a complete overhaul. The Department was currently dealing with 12 000 offenders. The focus had been on long-term offenders and correctional sentencing had been overlooked for short-term offenders. Overcrowding was not managed by releasing offenders. A parole was considered. The Parole Board needed to be sure that what was presented before it was backed by valid reports and evidence. Lastly, he indicated that space, hygiene and inadequate security matters had been taken to the Development Cluster for consideration. In cases where a cell was meant for 30 inmates, the DCS had utilised a double bunk system to accommodate 60 inmates.
Ms C Pilane-Majake (ANC) posed several questions. First, she wanted to know what the reasons were for the suspension of the KZN Regional Commissioner because the Committee was not briefed on the matter. Second, she commended the Department for the programmes rolled out to schools. Third, she asked for clarity on why there was overspending on all programmes while there is underperformance, especially in administration. Fourth, she enquired what the internal audit was saying about gangsterism because the external audit would see it as a risk. Fifth, she stated that internships and learnerships should not be seen as replacing senior people with family responsibilities who were leaving the state service.
Mr Modise, on the suspended KZN Regional Commissioner, reported that Commissioner Nxele was suspended because he refused to re-instate a suspended official; there is a problem of a tender with irregularities; and insubordination. The programmes rolled out to schools involved an exchange between offenders and schoolchildren. Offenders went to schools and talked about crime and imprisonment then the scholars, in turn, visited the correctional centres and saw the negatives of doing crime. About overspending in relation to underperformance, he admitted that the programmes were not talking to each other. The remedial actions to be taken should have been discussed first with the Department before the report was tabled before the Committee in order to verify and validate data. Regarding gangsterism inside prisons, the problem was rife in Pollsmoor and Westville prisons. The Department was considering views on the suggestion of the use of technology in the correctional facilities (in passages and rooms) so as to do the work better and arrest the criminals. Concerning learnerships and internships, he reported that the Department did not intend to keep people on a temporary basis. Candidates who had completed internships were registered on the database so that they could be employed when there were vacancies. But if there were vacancies, they were absorbed into the system.
The Chairperson wanted clarity on halfway houses because in Gauteng a sum of R10m was not spent on them. He further wanted to know what the difficulties were in forming and sustaining partnerships with organisations like NICRO and other NGOs. Lastly, he wanted to know if it was possible to offer standardised spiritual and social services for the correctional centres. Rehabilitation centres were a priority for the poor because most of them were very expensive. This meant if rehabilitation centres were not accessible to the communities, Correctional Services would not achieve its mandate.
Mr Smalberger, on halfway houses, indicated that they existed except in Free State and Northern Cape. The DCS was investigating why they were struggling to get off the ground in those two provinces whereas they were doing well in other areas. On spiritual and social services, he stated a report would be submitted to the Committee. There was a policy and an implementation plan. More than 1 000 people were visiting the centres already, but they were closely monitored on who had to get in or not. The document would be submitted to the Committee in a month’s time.
Mr Modise, responding to partnership concerns, reported the Department had approached NICRO for the establishment of the halfway houses because the organisation had been working with the DCS for a very long time. The DCS was also looking at what could be done with some NGOs that had been working with the DCS in order to form sustainable relationships.
The Chairperson suggested that the Department should consider partnerships between universities and nearby correctional centres on social work and psychology interventions instead of transferring offenders to centres where there were social workers and psychologists. Universities had to do some community service and their role was to produce these professionals. So, it was good to make use of the universities, especially senior teaching staff and students in the field of criminology, psychology and social work.
Update on forensic investigations
Mr Selfe wanted to know when the electronic monitoring devices were expected to start operating.
Mr Modise replied said the matter had been referred to the SIU because it needed an independent investigation because there were offenders who were a risk to the community.
The Chairperson asked who adjudicated over the MSW contract.
Mr Modise replied that it was done by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), not the DCS.
The Chairperson asked if the DHET had the capacity to adjudicate over something that was going to be used by DCS.
Mr Modise said the DHET looked at the training provided and expertise required. The DCS participated in the contract but it did not prescribe what the DHET must do.
Ms Pilane-Majake welcomed the report saying it was a progress towards achieving a clean audit.
The Chairperson said this was a timeous and better flow of information, thus making it easy for the Committee to exercise its oversight.
The meeting was adjourned.