Halfway houses; rehabilitation & reintegration of parolees / ex-offenders: Correctional Services status report

This premium content has been made freely available

Justice and Correctional Services

01 February 2017
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

The National Commissioner of Correctional Services briefed the Committee on the court order that required the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) to develop a plan to address overcrowding, which will be monitored until 31 May 2017, by which time the correctional centre populations must have reduced overall to manageable totals in all centres. Pollsmoor prison is to be a remand detention facility, with all sentenced offenders being moved to other correctional facilities, and this had already started.  and remove all sentenced offenders and move them to nearby correctional facilities. The Commissioner said that the offenders, including the gang leaders involved in the incident at the St Albans prison in the Eastern Cape, were transferred from Pollsmoor and the situation is being monitored. He explained that the Department is committed bringing down the level of incarcerated offenders to manageable totals, not only at Pollsmoor, but nationally. The Public Service Commission's audit of incarceration conditions, and report on the Durban Westville correctional facility and Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre was described. In the December/January period a number of incidents occurred, including attempts to destabilise the facilities at Krugersdorp, Leeukop, Thohoyandou, Johannesburg, with the most serious incident at the St Albans prison in the Eastern Cape on 26 December 2016. Here, offenders attempted to take over the institution and the retaliation of two officials who had been stabbed resulted in the death of three inmates. The Inspecting Judge would provide the report that had been drawn on the incidents. This was unfortunately a repeat of previous attempts in December , and a complete report detailing how the DCS will address the situation will be provided.

The Chief Deputy Commissioner then presented the report on rehabilitation for 2009 – 2016, as well as detailing and explaining some of the DCS partnerships with community, religious and non-governmental organisations and organs of state in order to extend rehabilitation services. It was emphasised that the correctional programmes aimed to provide needs-based correctional programmes targeting offending behaviour, based on the Correctional Sentence Plan (CSP).    The aim is to raise awareness, provide information as well as to develop life skills, in order to assist offenders to refrain from criminal activities and become responsible, law abiding and productive citizens.

The DCS then described its successes in the correctional formal education programmes. It had set up 13 more fulltime schools, registered with the Department of Basic Education, for deserving young offenders between 2009 and 2016, and up to 2014, the number of students registered to write matric examinations increased from 27 to 140. More than triple the number of students passed their matriculation examinations with admission to register for a Bachelor qualification; from 14 in 2012 to 40 in 2016.  In 2014, the overall pass rate was 68.9%, and in 2015, this increased to 72.9%, and was 72.1% in 2016 (with a greater number of candidates).

The DCS also described how it had formalised partnerships with various stakeholders in private, public and NGO sectors to increase the employability, successful reintegration of parolees and probationers, and to offer support to ex–offenders and family support. It had agreements with the institutions of higher learning to use students to conduct community profiling within communities.
Members asked about the re-naming of the Naturena Half Way House to Mthembu House in recognition of the work of the late Ms Mthembu, an ANC councillor who had done sterling work on community corrections. The Committee suggested that it should be regarded as a community Half Way House rather than having it run by an NGO, and if this were to happen the Committee would be prepared to engage with the province, the municipality and the private sector to propose a funding model.

The DCS then addressed some of the difficulties around parole, explaining that many offenders who could in theory qualify for parole were not able to be released as they did not have addresses that could be monitored. The DCS had now formed partnerships with NPOs to support those offenders that have no addresses or support system, by means of establishing halfway houses. In 2016/17 the Department has entered into contractual agreements in five regions with eight Halfway House agencies to support families and released offenders for successful reintegration.

In answer to comments made by the Members, the DCS further indicated that it had started to appoint managers responsible for facilities per region as well as establish teams to assess the facilities, and maintenance. It assured the Committee that in the relocation, it would attempt to ensure that sentenced offenders would not be located far from their families. In answer to queries on the figures, the DCS noted that South African correctional facilities hold 162 000 offenders and are therefore over capacity by 37%. Members expressed concern that applicants for jobs who disclosed a criminal offence, particularly for government posts, were less likely to be considered for employment, and suggested that “second chance legislation” provided for expungement in certain circumstances once programmes in rehabilitation and reintegration have been completed, as applied in several other jurisdictions, would be very progressive. The “Read to Redeem” campaign provided by the DCS is both similar and complementary to the “Read to Lead” campaign provided by the Department of Basic Education. He added that the AVBOB Foundation built container libraries are able to support such developmental campaigns. Other suggestions included allocation of buildings to trained offenders after their release, employment specifically from such centres for government departments, active sourcing of foodstuffs by centres under the Department of Social Development and Basic Education from land that should be allocated to former offenders. Members asked, but the DCS could not yet provide them with information on re-offending statistics and the DCS also conceded that whilst it had done significant work, management had not visited every facility. It was noted that there were differing views on re-offending, with some civil society organisations suggesting an 80% re-offending statistic.

The Department was not ready to provide the Committee with information on the issue of re-offending offenders. Significant work had been done, but the Department had not visited all of its facilities, as specific facilities were prioritised. The Department would now extend its research to include more cases and create a study to address the rate of re-offending. Members were not in favour of ex-offenders qualifying automatically for social grants, although the DCS and Committee would recommend employment in Department of Public Works projects, and the rural and urban services and facilities were discussed. The need to find a balance between the services provided to those who have offended society and the services provided to law abiding citizens was emphasised.


Meeting report

Overcrowding: Department of Correctional Services briefing

Mr Zach Modise, National Commissioner of Correctional Services, Department of Correctional Services, explained that a Court order required the Department of Correctional Services (DCS or the Department) to develop a plan to address overcrowding. This was to be monitored by the court on a monthly basis until 31 May 2017, by which time the total number of offenders in incarceration will have reduced.

The Department has declared Pollsmoor prison as a remand detention facility and had already started to remove all sentenced offenders and move them to nearby correctional facilities. Offenders, including the gang leaders involved in the incident at the St Albans prison in the Eastern Cape, were transferred from Pollsmoor and the situation is being monitored. The Department is committed bringing down the level of incarcerated offenders to manageable totals, not only at Pollsmoor, but nationally.

The Public Service Commission Chairperson had undertaken an audit at Durban Westville correctional facility and Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre to evaluate the incarceration conditions of the facilities and compile a report. The situation here was a little better than at Pollsmoor and the Department had committed itself to distributing offenders evenly between facilities as part of its overcrowding strategy.

The Commissioner expanded on the December 2016 /January 2017 unrest, involving a number of incidents, including offenders attempting to destabilise the facility. Incidents had occurred in Krugersdorp, Leeukop, Thohoyandou, Johannesburg, with the most serious incident taking place at the St Albans correctional centre in the Eastern Cape on 26 December 2016. At the St Albans  offenders attempted to take over the centre. Two officials who were stabbed retaliated, and three inmates died. The Commissioner indicated that both the criminal and departmental investigation is about to be concluded and that the inspecting judge will provide to the Committee with a report detailing the findings. The attack / retaliation / injury or death situation was something that had happened previously. The DCS would be compiling a complete report explaining how the Department will address the incident at the St Albans prison will be compiled.

The Commissioner reported on another incident in Virginia involving a parolee who was released, then broke into the single quarters near where he worked, and was attacked by officials and lost his life. A criminal investigation was concluded and three officials were taken into custody but then released on bail and the criminal case is ongoing. The Department had taken disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrators.

The DCS had undertaken to meet with the Justice, Peace and Security cluster on a regional basis, as well as the Director-Generals of the Departments in close partnerships with DCS, including the Department of Public Works, the Department of Health, the Department of Home Affairs, the South African Police Services and the Department of Justice, including the National Prosecuting Authority. There had been meetings with the JPS cluster in the Western Cape and Gauteng. DCS aimed to make its partner departments aware of the conditions of incarceration, the levels of overcrowding in correctional centres and the remand offenders who remain in correctional facilities for extended periods because their cases are not finalised. The meetings will assist in determining an alternative to correctional facilities and placing emphasis on non-custodial sentencing.

The staffing situation was then outlined. The DCS was drawing up a memorandum to address high resignations, particularly as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the pension fund. The DCS staff numbers had declined from 42 006 to 38 000 officials, with around 100 officials opting out of their pensions each month.

Mr Modise noted that the DCS was originally allocated six PDPs which were cancelled due to the cost involved. The Commissioner said that the allocated budget amount is insufficient for the DCS to be able effectively execute its programmes within that budget.

He suggested that there was a need for cooperation with the SA Defence Force. 20 000 soldiers are due to be retired shortly, and it would greatly benefit the DCS if they could be enrolled in programmes where DCS could still use their expertise. The Department had met with National Treasury to discuss the capping memorandum and consider a cluster approach. He also emphasised that since the DCS is at the end of the value chain, it must be borne in mind that any increase in the number of officers in the South African Police Services (SAPS) will result in increased arrests, prosecutions and probably incarcerations, which will in turn affect the DCS. Any investment made into one part of the chain needs to be considered in terms of its impact on others.

Mr Modise indicated that the Department is poised to “make a turnaround” with the guidance and support of the Committee. He noted that the Chief Deputy Commissioner would give another briefing on rehabilitation and reintegration.



Mr J Selfe (DA) was pleased to hear that the Committee will receive the report of the investigation, specifically the investigation into St Albans, but asked when it would be made available.

Mr Selfe noted the court order relating to Pollsmoor prison, which is going to be declared a remand facility. It was his understanding that the Goodwood facility would also be converted to a remand facility and that sentenced offenders are likely to be moved further away from the major urban areas which has implications for visitations and reintegration in due course. He indicated that he had received representations from the families who were affected by this already. He indicated that if the process was rolled out to St Albans, Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre and Durban Westville, there would be implications for the transfer of the offenders.

Mr Selfe agreed that the outcomes at the end of the process chain are important, but Mr Selfe said that before building new facilities, the Committee wanted to be assured that different avenues could be followed to reduce overcrowding, such as alternative sentencing. Incarceration should not be the preferred option for sentencing, as it results in additional criminality.

Mr M Maila (ANC) expressed concern that the issues related to the facilities such as Pollsmoor had only been addressed once a court order had been served, and asked whether there was any regular intervention nationally aside from what had been ordered. He agreed that the DCS would benefit from an integrated approach within the justice system.

Mr Maila expressed the view that a warning must be issued in relation to challenges to authority. Officers needed to guard offenders and incidents that undermined the authority of the officials meant that they were not getting the necessary support in order to effectively discharge their duties. 

Mr B Bongo (ANC) recommended that the Committee schedule a joint meeting with the departments mentioned to discuss their respective roles in ensuring that overcrowding in correctional facilities is controlled.

Ms M Mothapo (ANC) thanked the National Commissioner for the presentation. She reported that during her visit to the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre, she discovered that the boilers are not working, and recommended that this must be addressed by requiring the Centre to deal with it, and this be extended to other centres alluded to by Mr Maila.

Ms Mothapo expressed concern that the Department of Public Works (DPW) was not doing enough to assist the Department of Correctional Services, and reiterated that the provision and maintenance of the facility infrastructure is the responsibility of the DPW. She asked whether inter-departmental meetings were held to discuss important issues. The lack of assistance places the DCS under immense pressure and needs to be addressed.

Ms Mothapo said that the initiation which took place at the St Albans facility during December period was extremely unfortunate and that the government should take precautions to prevent similar occurrences in other correctional facilities.

The Chairperson noted that the inputs of the Committee and the DCS are contributing to progress. He emphasised that correctional services are a societal as well as an interdepartmental matter. He too had been receiving calls and letters about the conditions in the correctional facilities.

The Chairperson expressed interest in the recommendation of alternative sentencing and dispute resolution. This Committee had to address all the issues, as they represented the public. Many people commit offences in the rural areas because they have access to a number of bottle stores which have been built in these areas, and become intoxicated. Many of the offenders who commit social ills are taken into the criminal justice system. The Chairperson said that the Committee must “speed up” the consideration of the Traditional Courts Bill, as well as consider the alternative sentencing programme.

The Chairperson asked how the DCS was expected to provide hot water to inmates if the DPW was failing to maintain the boilers.

The Chairperson expressed the view that the Department of Correctional Services should not act only once a court order has been issued (in relation to overcrowding) but required a vision, a mission and foresight in order to take the necessary preventive measures. He stressed the need for collaboration between the Departments in order to implement the measures. He expressed the view that the Departments of Public Works, Health, Home Affairs and Justice, all of whom were accountable to Parliament, were letting down the DCS. He agreed with Mr Bongo that this Committee should convene a meeting with these departments, some of which did not appear to be fulfilling their duty. He thought that this meeting should address the following issues: a) Why is there no form of alternative sentencing? b) Why are alternative resolution mechanisms not utilised? The departments will be invited for a meeting at the beginning of March to discuss the issues before the Committee, and a report would be submitted to Parliament for consideration and the necessary action plans developed and enforced. 

The Chairperson said that it has taken the Department of Justice more than 15 years to develop the Traditional Courts Bill, and more than 15 years to develop the Community Courts Bill. He urged that Parliament should take the responsibility of ensuring that those accountable to Parliament do fulfil their mandate, saying that many pilot projects are often suggested by the Department but do not reach fruition.

The Chairperson indicated that officials are also entitled to their security and safety, and therefore cannot “surrender” to criminals. Officials also have a right to self-defence however, the court will intervene if the incident exceeds the bounds of self-defence. He said that an attack on the officials is an attack on the State, as the officials enforce the laws of the institution. He would like a strong statement to be issued to that effect. Since the role of Parliament is to oversee government, the Committee cannot permit a state of anarchy in correctional facilities, nor can it allow instances where government institutions experience a takeover.

The Chairperson said that he personally respects the presentation on Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) but recommended that the partnerships chosen for the Half Way Houses are well-defined and successful and that the organisations awarded tenders must have the requisite capacity and desire to make an impact. He explained that there were examples of some non-governmental organisations without facilities having secured the government tenders and then being unable to fulfil their mandate.

The Chairperson pointed out that government has dilapidated buildings not being utilised all over the city and that these buildings should be considered for use as rehabilitation centres, under a national plan for rehabilitation and reintegration.

The National Commissioner said that the Department will be able to provide the Committee with the report on St Albans by next week Friday, at the latest. He was pleased to hear the comments made by the Committee. He explained that the Department has started to appoint managers responsible for facilities per region as well as establish teams to assess the facilities, especially with regard to its maintenance.

The Commissioner explained that the Department has not been filling its vacancies which has resulted in a surplus on compensation of employees.

The Commissioner recommended that the Department either builds more facilities or extend already-existing ones, which has been the procedure in the past.

The Commissioner said that the inadequate management of the “awaiting-trial” detainee project, which was handed to the Department of Correctional Services in 2006, resulted in serious financial implications. The Department received remand detainees, but the budget is insufficient to cover accommodation and staff. Should this continue, both the healthcare budget and the nutrition budget will “skyrocket”.

The Commissioner said that the Department of Correctional Services “was not vigilant enough in looking at the decisions that have been taken and considering their impact on the eventual correctional system in the Republic”.

He assured Members that the sentenced offenders who are to be transferred from Pollsmoor to other correctional facilities will be evenly distributed and they will not be relocated to centres which are far away from their visitors. It was however a fact that the challenge of overcrowding needs to be addressed urgently. South African correctional facilities hold 162 000 offenders and are therefore over capacity by 37%. The even distribution of offenders needs to be taken seriously by the Department. Pollsmoor is severely overcrowded and conditions of incarceration are unacceptable. The officials are not able to provide the requisite treatment and exercise to offenders that are set out in the core legislation governing correctional services. He fully agreed that an integrated approach and interaction between the Departments is necessary to resolve the issues presented to the Committee.

Mr Modise said that the DCS cannot dissociate itself from the public. The public report on the status of correctional facilities, and often the complaints raised by the public themselves, were plausible. Many cases had been brought to his attention whereby inmates who had been noted as qualifying for parole were found, upon closer investigation, to have not met the requirements for consideration.

The Commissioner explained that he is sometimes alerted to incidents in correctional facilities through the media reports. The Department appreciates the concern shared by the public. He stressed that the Department of Correctional Services will not allow any offender to “take over” a correctional facility. The incident which occurred at the correctional facility in St Albans in December has made the Department more aware of the need for cluster support. He reported that during the St Albans incident, SAPS, Emergency Services and the South African Defence Force had all come to the assistance of the DCS and clamped down on the unruly behaviour at the correctional facility, allowing for it to be stabilised in a short period of time.

The Commissioner explained that the main challenge at St Albans, as well as the Western Cape correctional facilities, is gangsterism. This flourishes where there is authority, as its purpose and aim is to undermine authority. He fully agreed that the DCS needs to ensure that the authority of the State is not undermined and that officials are forceful but exert their authority within the confines of the law. The Rule of Law has to be upheld in South African correctional facilities. The DCS will ensure that consideration is given to the manner in which officials react to offenders in hostile situations as well as the actions required to stabilise the situation. The Commissioner said the incident at St Albans is an embarrassment to the Department of Correctional Services, as well as an embarrassment to the government. According to the Commissioner, such incidents should not happen in correctional facilities where there is security and order. The Department is taking serious note of the Committee consensus that DSC officials are reactive, and will take the necessary preventative measures to prevent a recurrence. The measures currently implemented by the Department may need to be reviewed in order to achieve this.

The Chairperson indicated that the Committee Secretary will assist the Department in planning for the cluster meeting and will request all political parties with ideas for the programme to submit proposals for consideration. The process must be fully participatory as the status of correctional services is a societal matter.

Mr Bongo suggested that the Committee conducts oversight visits at the correctional facilities in order to determine the conditions of incarceration first-hand, in order to report back to Parliament.

The Chairperson agreed with the recommendation and suggested that oversight be conducted in the correctional facilities mentioned during the presentation, prior to the cluster meeting.

Rehabilitation: Department of Correctional Services report

Mr James Smalberger, Chief Deputy Commissioner, Department of Correctional Services, explained that the purpose of his presentation was to give an overview of the DCS report on rehabilitation for the period 2009 – 2016, as well as to outline the status and purpose of the DCS partnerships with community, religious and non-governmental organisations and organs of state, in order to extend rehabilitation services, as well as to explain the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

He noted by way of introduction that the United Nations Conventions were agreed on minimum standards which accentuate human rights such as:

  • The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (1957)
  • The Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (1988)
  • The Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners (1990)
  • The Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (1985)


In addition to complying with these principles, DCS had its own further specific mandates under:

  • The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108/1996)
  • Correctional Services Act (Act 111/1998), as amended
  • Criminal Procedure Act (Act 51/1977)
  • The White Paper on Corrections (2005)


The White Paper on Corrections (2005) is the guiding document which outlines the strategic direction of the Department. This stresses efforts aimed at rehabilitation at the centre of all of its activities.


Deputy Commissioner Smalberger explained that the term “inmate” means any person, whether convicted or not, who is detained in custody in any correctional centre or remand detention facility, or who is being transferred in custody, or is en route from one correctional centre or remand detention facility to another correctional centre or remand detention facility;


The term “development” means the provision of services and programmes aimed at developing and enhancing competencies and skills that will enable the sentenced offender to re-integrate into the community.


Purpose of the Correctional System

DC Smalberger indicated that the purpose of the correctional system is to contribute towards maintaining and protecting a just, peaceful and safe society by enforcing sentences of the courts in the manner prescribed by this Act, by detaining all inmates in safe custody whilst ensuring their human dignity and by promoting the social responsibility and human development of all offenders and persons subject to community corrections, as endorsed by Section 2 of the Correctional Services Act, Act No 111 of 1998.



He explained that the active engagement of the community in the rehabilitation process of the offender, as a collective responsibility, strengthens partnerships in the correcting, development and care of the offender and leads to a change in the community's attitude towards ex–offenders. The important role of family members and the community at large cannot be over emphasised. Sentenced offenders attend a variety of interventions in order to be successfully reintegrated back into society. Successful rehabilitation and reintegration remain the Department’s focus. Ex-offenders need support and job opportunities upon their release, with the assistance of communities.

Needs-Based Sentence Planning

Needs-based correction, development, care and security programmes, have been developed and implemented as part of the rehabilitation of offenders and preparing them for reintegration back into communities. Assessment tools are available and implemented in order to identify specific risks and needs. This facilitates proper placement of offenders and are guiding on the provision of programmes, services and interventions.

Security Classification for Rehabilitation

Offenders are classified based on their security risks and needs. It facilitates a need-driven approach to secure accommodation of offenders, as well as a needs-driven rehabilitation strategy. This ensures a balance between provision of secure and safe incarceration on the one hand against the need to address correction, rehabilitation, promotion of social responsibility and human development.

Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Parolees and Ex-Offenders

Correctional Programmes

The purpose of the correctional programmes is to provide needs-based correctional programmes targeting offending behavior based on the Correctional Sentence Plan (CSP).   The aim is to raise awareness, provide information as well as to develop life skills, in order to assist offenders in refraining from criminal activities and becoming responsible law abiding and productive citizens.

Correctional Programmes are presented by trained Correctional Officials and are designed for presentation in the group work method only. The referral of offenders to the professional groups is done where a need for therapeutic intervention is observed.

The Department of Correctional Services has thirteen endorsed Correctional Programmes. DC Smalberger outlined these as follows:


1. New Beginnings Orientation
The New Beginnings Orientation Programme aims to empower newly admitted offenders to become more aware of themselves as well as the surrounding of the correctional setting in order to cope in the correctional centre.


2. Anger Management: “Anger in Anger Out”
Raises offender awareness on the causes and symptoms of anger and how to manage anger. The Programme assists offenders to unlearn old habits associated with aggression and learn healthy ways of dealing with and expressing anger.

3. Cross roads
This programme equips offenders with the necessary knowledge and skills to enable them to become responsible, law-abiding and productive citizens in to order to facilitate their successful reintegration into society.


4. Restorative Justice Orientation

The purpose of the programme is to orientate offenders on the Restorative Justice System as well as prepare offenders for involvement in Restorative Justice Programme offerings.


5. Preparatory programme on Sexual Offences: “Think Before You Act

The programme assist offenders to identity the possible causes of their deviant sexual behaviour and to empower them with information on the biological development and sexual development of human beings.


6. Substance Abuse: “Stop to Start

The main purpose of the Substance Abuse programme is to help offenders gain insight into the negative effects of substance abuse.


7. Behaviour Modification Programme on Gangsterism

The main objective is to raise awareness amongst offenders on gang related activities and specifically the negative consequences.


8. Economic Crime (Fraud) Related Programme        

The Economic Crime Programme (fraud category) targets fraud and related offences, which are more organized in nature, such as syndicates.


9. Economic Crime (Theft) Related Programme         

The Economic Crime Programme (theft category) targets theft and related offending behaviour (e.g. stealing food from a supermarket).


10. Murder and Related Offences: “Changing Lanes

This programme targets behaviour of offenders serving sentences for murder and related offences. The programme aims to assist offenders to understand contributing factors towards aggressive behaviour. It further aims to create understanding of human behaviour and emotions as well as to motivate offenders to strive towards emotional intelligence by developing their own individual coping plans.


11. Robbery and Related Offences: “Change is possible

The programme targets robbery and related offences. The crime category of robbery and related offences is an “umbrella” for all the following crimes (Armed Robbery, Hijacking Aeroplane, Hijacking Truck, Hijacking Motor Vehicle). The programme aims to assist the offender to develop insight into his/her own situation that contributed to the crime, to develop insight into the impact of the offence and to thereafter develop a personal plan with specific goals that include no involvement in crime


  1. Pre-Release Programme

The objective of the Pre-Release Programme is to prepare offenders for successful reintegration into society by providing them with skills and information to enable them to cope with possible challenges they may face after their release. The programme is compulsory to offenders with CSPs who are to be released.


13. Programme for Female Offenders

The programme is divided into four sub-programmes due to comprehensive information.

The programme empowers women with general life skills like emotional health and well-being, learning from own mistakes, parental skills and problem solving skills.

It addresses addictive behavior, imparts knowledge about relationships and helps offenders with information to build their careers.

Correctional Programmes Initiatives

DC Smalberger then outlined some other initiatives. These include a youth tool on four of the Correctional Programmes namely substance abuse, preparatory programmes on sexual offences, anger Management and “Cross Roads”.  Animation and sound effects have been added to enhance interest and understanding of the contents by youth offenders. 

A MoU between the University of South Africa (UNISA) and DCS was entered into, to measure the impact of rehabilitation programmes. The focus was on Substance Abuse Programmes. There were challenges experienced and the MOU needed to be amended. The Directorate Research division is now driving the process.

Pamphlets for marketing Correctional Programmes are available in three official languages:

1)  English

2)  Zulu

3) Tswana


He then set out the figures for the completion of Correctional Programmes by offenders in the financial years between 2009 and 2016, as follows:

2009/10: 44 481 offenders

2010/11: 116 097 offenders

2011/12: 116 716 offenders

2012/13: 77 087 offenders

2013/14: 61 049 offenders

2014/15: 68 624 offenders

2015/16: 75 595 offenders


From the year 2013/2014, offenders were counted once irrespective of how many programmes they completed.


Social Work Services

The impact of rehabilitation efforts by Social Work Services was reflected through offender participation in Social Work programmes and services for the period 2010/2011 to 2015/16 year. The following was reported:


Actual offender population


Participation in numbers

Percentage Performance

163 427


134 358 offenders


112 745


40 469  offenders


104 533


104 073 offenders


190 616


152 406 offenders


186 887


152 707 offenders


184 227


 91013  offenders



The following therapeutic programmes are rendered to sentenced offenders:


  • Anger Management Programme
  • Sexual Offender Treatment Programme
  • Substance Abuse Programme
  • Cool and Fit for Life (Youth Programme)
  • Elderly Offender Programme
  • Youth Resilience Enhancement Programme
  • Sisonke Family and Marriage Care Programme.
  • Parenting Skills Programme


Deputy Commissioner Smalberger indicated that remand detainees are attended to on crisis intervention.


Spiritual Care

The Spiritual Care Services facilitated 178 766 sessions with offenders for the period 2009/2010. This total included 50 123 church services, 48 068 group sessions and 80 585 individual pastoral sessions. The impact of rehabilitation efforts by Spiritual Care Services is reflected through offender participation in such services and programmes for the period 2010 to 2016, with participation rising from 55.16% in 2010 to 83.22% in 2015 (see attached presentation for full statistics).

Psychological Services
The impact of rehabilitation efforts by Psychological Services is reflected through offender participation in Psychological Services and programmes that are offered.  The offender: psychologist ratio continues to impact on the ability of DCS to increase access to Psychological Services for offenders. However, the strategic increase in group interventions increases the involvement of offenders in Psychological Services in general.  The availability of Community Service psychologists boosts the number of DCS psychologists and available services. To the extent that Psychological Services contribute to rehabilitation, increasing the number of DCS psychologists will enhance rehabilitative outcomes.

Formal Education Programmes

The following programmes are offered to offenders:


  • Early Childhood Development (ECD)
  • General Education and Training (GET)
  • Further Education and Training (FET)
  • Administration of Higher Education and Training (HET)
  • Computer Based Training (CBT)

DC Smalberger explained that the Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme is offered for work with babies and children, from birth up to two years of age.

Full-time tuition for General Education and Training (GET) is offered to offenders registered for Literacy, Kha Ri Gude, AET Levels 1 to 4 and Grade 8.

Full-time tuition for Further Education and Training (FET) is offered to offenders registered for Mainstream Education (Grades 10 - 12).

Administrative support for Administration of Higher Education and Training (HET) support is provided to offenders who register for various diplomas and degrees post - Matric (Tertiary Education).

Computer Based Training (CBT) is also offered, ensuring that offenders are equipped with market related computer skills for employment opportunities once released.

The DCS has increased full-time schools that are registered with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) for deserving young offenders, from having only 1 in 2009 to 14 in 2016. The number of students registered to write matric examinations increased from 27 to 140 during the fourth term of government (up to 2014). More than triple the number of students passed their matriculation examinations with admission to register for a Bachelor qualification, from 14 in 2012 to 40 in 2016.  For the academic year 2014, the overall pass rate achieved was 68.9%, with 62 of 90 candidates that wrote examinations passing, thereby showing that the reach and impact of the DCS interventions continues to increase. In 2015, 81 out of 111 candidates passed Grade 12 Examinations – this was a 72.9 % pass rate. In 2016, 101 out of 140 candidates passed the same examinations, constituting a 72.1% pass rate.


The number of offenders participating in Programmes in the 2016 Academic Year was then set out as follows:

  • AET
  • Grades 8 – 12  (New Curriculum)
  • Grade 12          (Old Curriculum)
  • HET                   (Post Matric)
  • Computer Based Training

9 733

1 008

1 051




The Directorate has referred its reviewed Formal Education Policy for the approval of the Minister. Once approved, it will ensure that all youth up to the age of 25 who are incarcerated, and who do not have a qualification which is equivalent to Grade 9/AET Level 4, will be compelled to attend school.


The Directorate has also signed a MoU with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) for the DBE to assist the DCS with requisite human resources, especially for the 14 FET full-time schools.


A MoU was signed with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and is aimed at promoting access to career information, advice and career development services. This will include learners/ youth who are not employed and who are not in education or training.


Skills Development

The following are the key delivery areas for the provisioning of offender skills development programmes:


Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College Programmes

The programmes provide for Engineering & Business studies N1-N6 and National Certificate Vocational (NCV) Level 2 – 4.


Skills Training Programmes:

These programmes include Vocational Artisan Trades, Basic Occupational Skills (Short/Unit standards Based) Programmes, Entrepreneurial and Computer Skills.


DC Smalberger told the Committee that the following DCS Centres for offender training facilities and workplaces were granted accreditation from MERSETA:


  • Eastern Cape: St Albans
  • Free State/ Northern Cape: Kimberley, Grootvlei and Bizzah Makhate (Kroonstad)
  • Gauteng: Boksburg
  • KwaZulu-Natal: Durban Westville
  • Western Cape: Drakenstein Production Workshop


The workplace-approved centres offer the following trades, skills programmes and qualifications:

  • St Albans: Motor Mechanic; Welder
  • Kimberley: Vehicle Service Person
  • Grootvlei: Welding application and practice NQF level
  • Bizzah Makhate (Kroonstad): GETC Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Activities NQF level 1
  • Boksburg: Boilermaker and Welder
  • Durban Westville: Welding application and practice NQF level 2 – 4
  • Drakenstein Production Workshop: Welding application and practice NQF level 2 – 4; Engineering fabrication NQF level 2 – 3

Production Workshops and Agriculture

Production workshops and agricultural activities promote the transfer of skills to offenders by complementing skills development rehabilitation programmes and improving their personal and social functioning. They furthermore address work ethics, by providing the offenders with skills, and the chance to utilise and develop those skills further with opportunities. The products generated/manufactured/produced in the process, are used for self-sufficiency and to ultimately reduce revenue expenditure.

Offender labour in Production Workshops and in Agriculture workshops was outlined (see attached presentation).

Sport, Recreation, Arts, Culture and Libraries (SRAC&L)

SRAC & L activities are provided to add value to the lives of participants, and this complies with the legislation both nationally and as set out in the international instruments. SRAC & L programmes and services are central to the rehabilitation plan of each offender, in order to assist them to change their lives in a positive manner taking their social, economic and cultural background into account.

The programmes of Sport, Recreation, Arts, Culture and Libraries, are targeted at sentenced and un-sentenced offenders. To increase the impact of rehabilitation, the Directorate has increased the numbers participating each year in these programmes. It has managed to do this by introducing new programmes and activities as well as celebrating National and International days for nation building and social cohesion.

Department of Correctional Services partnerships with sector stakeholders and service providers: Briefing
The DCS gave another presentation to the Committee on the partnerships that are already in existence or contemplated with sector stakeholders.

In the educational field, the Department of Correctional Services has partnerships with the following entities:

  • The Department of Basic Education (DBE)
  • The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)
  • The President's Award (TPA)
  • Media Works: AET Accelerated Programme
  • National Applications Centre (NAC)
  • SACE approved service providers: Macmillan Education Teacher Campus, Shutters and Shooters, Van Schaik Bookstores and Pearson publishers.
  • School Net for ICT
  • University of South Africa (UNISA)


The Department of Correctional Services has partnerships in relation to skills development, with the following entities:

  • Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)
  • Implementation, Assessment and Certification of Technical, Vocational, Education and Training (TVET) College Programmes [Report 191 and NC(V)].
  • National Artisan Development (NAD) /INDLELA
  • Artisan Trade Testing and Assessment
  • National Skills Fund (NSF)
  • Sector Education and Training Authorities  (SETAs)
  • Department of Small Business Development (DSBD)
  • Ground Partners


Deputy Commissioner Smalberger indicated that the Skills Development partners assisted as follows:

- The National Skills Fund donated R87 201 694, in October 2016, for training of 6 702 offenders for a period of four years
- The Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) assisted in the accreditation of training centres/workplaces
- In September 2016, SASSETA donated R7 276 000 for the training of 800 offenders in various accredited vocational programmes for the 2016/17 financial year
- The Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) promotes and provides the SMME (entrepreneurial) programmes
- The ‘Ground Partners’ assist in the implementation of green economy projects. The focus groups are offenders, parolees and the community. The project commenced in November 2016 at the Zonderwater Management Area as a pilot site.

Partnerships: Sport, Recreation, Arts & Culture

Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA)

The partnership with the SRSA is to assist the DCS to achieve its mandate with regards to personal development of offenders through sport and recreation programmes and services. Through the partnership with SRSA, the Department had now increased the numbers of offenders participating, by introducing new programmes and activities. In addition to this, the Department was able to implement sustainable sport and recreation programmes in all correctional centres for leisure times, and therapeutic and academic purposes. Moreover, indoor sport and recreational equipment was also procured nationally in support of Operation Vala (Festive Season Programme).

Department of Arts and Culture (DAC)

The DAC and DCS had signed an MoU to implement the Art Access programme in Correctional Facilities. This programme is part of a broader campaign of ensuring art access to all, in particular to marginalized and vulnerable groups in society. The key objectives of this programmes is to transform and empower offenders through the arts, culture and heritage which have the potential for self-sustainability, post-incarceration and rehabilitation, while under correctional supervision and social integration. The programme aims to provide quality support services to talented offenders in the region including the provision of appropriate marketing and selling skills with regards to establishing Art Galleries in DCS. A “train the trainer” programme on Beadwork has also been developed in Correctional Centres.

Through this partnership, individual and group talents were discovered through a coordinated drama performance by offenders. This programme will expose talent and educate communities on Crime Prevention, through Grahamstown Arts Festival and State Theatre.

South African Book Development Council (SABDC)

The partnership is assisting to facilitate the expansion of Library Programmes and Services in DCS through the establishment of book clubs at the Correctional Centres, reading, writing, storytelling and compilation of poetry books by offenders. Offender participation in this programme starts at the Correctional Centre Level, Management Area Level, proceeds to Regional Level and lastly to the National Championships where talents are showcased at a national platform. The partnership aims to coordinate the nationwide outreach and advocacy projects through the book development and participating during the National and International Days.

The Centre for the Book (CFB)

The partnership is between DCS and the CFB which is a branch of the National Library in the DAC.  This an annual programme aimed at encouraging offenders to develop appreciation and knowledge through reading of books, reviewing, provide analysis and engage in constructive educative debates on topical issues.

Badminton South Africa (BSA)

The partnership will assist with the planning, development and implementation of the programme at Correctional Services centres. Through this partnership offenders will be trained as technical officials and become coaches.

South African Table Tennis Board (SATTB)

The partnership will assist with the planning, development and implementation of the programme at Correctional Services centres. Through this partnership offenders will be trained as technical officials and become coaches.

South African National Amateur Boxing Organisation

The partnership is assisting with the planning, development and implementation of the programme at Correctional Services centres. Through this partnership, offenders are trained as technical officials and managers. In support of the programme in DCS, boxing equipment was procured for all management areas. Offender participation in this programme starts at the Correctional Centre Level, moves to Management Area Level, proceeds to Regional Level and lastly to the National Championships where talents are showcased at a National platform.

Athletics South Africa (ASA), South African Football Association (SAFA), South African Rugby Union (SARU)

These partnerships are assisting to coordinate the leagues in each of the sports as relevant, at Correctional Centre Level and to showcase talent of the offenders.  Offender participation in this programme starts at the Correctional Centre Level, moves to Management Area Level, proceeds to Regional Level and lastly to the National Championships.

Talent will be showcased nationally, and the coordinated approach aimed to build and support self-sufficiency, in turn reducing the likelihood of former offenders becoming involved in criminal activity.

Partnerships: Spiritual Care

The Directorate Spiritual Care has entered into partnership with various church/faith based organisations which includes the following:

- Quality Assured Service Providers who are rendering services and programmes to offenders in Correctional Centres: Alpha Prison Ministries, Prison Fellowship SA, New Life Behaviour Ministries, Kairos, EEIII (Evangelism Explosion Edition III), Lotsha Ministries
- Religious bodies that assist in the management of church/faith groupings within Correctional Centres. These are the Jewish Prison Board, National Muslim Prison Board, Hindu Prison Board, SAACOM (Southern African Association for Correctional Ministry), SSCAB (Security Services Christian Advisory Board) ATR (African Traditional Religion) and Rastafarians.
- Partnerships exist with different churches/faith groups who appoint own Spiritual Workers for rendering of services and programmes to offenders. There are around 1 794 spiritual workers.
- Established partnerships with church/faith groups such as Kara Development Ministries, African Traditional Religion, Rastafarians, Jewish, Muslim, ZCC (Zion Christian Church), Shembe (Nazareth Baptist Church) Israel Vision, Buddhists, Pagans and Hindus resulted in the development of Spiritual Care Policy Guidelines which guide provision of special religious needs to offenders.
- A long existing partnership exists with the Bible Society of SA, making Bibles available to offenders through Annual Bible Donations for distribution to various correctional centres.
- Training of Spiritual Care personnel is facilitated by the One Year Course on Correctional Ministry through the partnership with the Theological Department of UNISA.
- Working relations have been established with Institute for Healing of Memories and Counselling Workshops for offenders were conducted in Goodwood and Pollsmoor Correctional Facilities.
- Partnerships are in place with Community Radio Stations such as Radio Pulpit and Umhlobo Wenene for linking offenders with their family and communities.
- There is also a working relationship with Bible Correspondence Institutions such as Emmanuel Press, All Nations, Bybelkor, Bible Way, Kenneth Copeland, World Hope Ministries, Radio Pulpit, Nehemiah Bible Institute and SDA Voice of Prophecy.

Partnerships: Social Work Services (some in conjunction with Department of Justice)

The Department of Justice conducted training of 297 DCS officials (including Social Workers) on Child Justice Act and Children’s Act.

Department of Social Development

The Department of Social Development trained DCS Social Workers and some Heads of Correctional Centres who have mother and baby units, on Chapter 5&6 of the Children's’ Act, to enhance their capacity to register ECD Centres in DCS as mandated. The Department also trained some of the DCS Social Workers in trauma counselling.


SANCA trained 44 Social Workers based at Youth Centre on SANCA Ahanang Programme.

Partnerships: Quality Assured / Approved Service Providers

The approved service providers are as follows:

· Right to Care

· Footballers 4 Life

· Fear Free Life

· New Life Behaviour

· Global Harvest Prison Network

· Lotsha Ministries

· World Hope Ministries

· Babies Behind Bars

· The Alpha Course South Africa

· The Prem Rawat  Foundation


MoU: Formal Education

The Department of Basic Education (DBE)

The Department of Correctional Services signed a MoU with DBE in order to improve the standard of education in correctional facilities.  The MoU has already born fruit because DBE has conducted training workshops for educators and officials of DCS in the following: South African School Administration and Management System (SA-SAMS); training of educators in Life Sciences and also donated the Mind the Gap study guides in various subjects to all full-time schools in DCS. DBE had also donated Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) in the form of teacher reference books, readers and classroom charts for the establishment of School Library and Information Services in our Further Education and Training (FET) fulltime schools.

MoU: Directorate Production Workshops and Agriculture – producing for DBE

The Department of Correctional Services also signed an MoU with the Department of Basic Education for the manufacturing and rehabilitation of school furniture on 27 March 2013. The Department of Basic Education (at national and provincial level) places orders for school furniture on need basis.

MoU: Formal Education

The Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with an agency known as the National Applications Centre (NAC). This is a youth led Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which has the capacity to amass resources for youth development through partnering with other stakeholders like MERSETA, Department of Communication (DOC) and the National Youth Development Agency.

This partnership resulted in DOC donating a computer laboratory at Boksburg Management Area and through this partnership, the following technology was donated for youth development:

  • 15 television sets with Open View HD satellite television
  • 60 computers donated by the Landbank with internet connectivity from Telkom
  • Online learning material and training from iNetSI
  • Teacher Training and support by Intel


University of South Africa (UNISA)

The Department of Correctional Services is in the process of signing an MoU with the University of South Africa (UNISA) to assist offenders who are involved in distance education to have access to online connectivity within a secure environment so that they can be able to apply for registration online and be able to post their assignments online as well. This is to mitigate possibilities of offenders having access to own personal computers with access to uncapped internet through use of private modems. The university also assists the Department with the running of examinations as they provide invigilators for this purpose.

The President Award (TPA)

The Department of Correctional also signed a MoU with The President Award (TPA) which deals with holistic development of offenders.  TPA helps youth offenders to develop qualities of leadership, self-worth, initiative, self-discipline, entrepreneurship and commitment to community service.

MoU: Sport, Recreation, Arts, Culture and Libraries

The Department of Correctional Services has partnerships with the following entities:

  • Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa (DSRSA)
  • Department of Arts and Culture ( DAC)
  • Badminton South Africa (BSA)
  • South African Table Tennis Board ( SATTB)
  • Professional Golfers Association of South Africa
  • Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa (DSRSA)


MoU: Spiritual Care

The Directorate Spiritual Care has partnerships with the NGO’s- Heartlines and Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM) - specifically focussing of the development of positive values and norms for inmates and officials in DCS. A draft Memorandum of Understanding between DCS and Heartlines has been developed. MoU’s with the Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM), Institute for Healing of Memories and Christian Revival Church are also in the development phase.  

Spiritual Workers and Volunteers of different churches/faiths are appointed as well as Services Providers which inter alia pay attention in building the character and inculcating positive values to inmates.

The National Commissioner signed a MoU on behalf of DCS with the Christian Revival Church on 6 November 2016.

MoU: Personal Corrections

The Department has entered into a partnership through renewable MOUs with four tertiary institutions in Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal. These MoUs are intended to provide third year and post graduate criminology/corrections students with practical work experience in the corrections field. Students participate in this project of Experiential Learning on a voluntary basis.. The participating universities are UNISA, University of Pretoria, KwaZulu Natal, Zululand. 123 criminology/corrections students benefited from SASSETA bursaries to the value of R50 000 each, through participating..

Non-Governmental Organisations and initiatives

67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day

This is a skills development project that aims at giving offenders a positive and creative way to reach out to the disadvantaged communities outside of DCS facilities. A structured environment within the various Correctional Centres facilitates the project. Last year, about 2 000 inmates nationally, inclusive of all categories, became involved. Sponsors provided wool and crochet hooks. This was particularly important for profiling DCS offender programmes of rehabilitation for re-integration in front of millions of South Africans and serves as a high point for showcasing and demonstrating successes in Correctional Services delivery on social re-integration.

The Department broke the Guinness World Records set with 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day on 22 April 2016, in Drakenstein, WC Region.

Van Schaik Bookstores

 A consignment of books donated by Van Schaik Bookstores were sent to the FS/NC Region. These included Afrikaans, English, Physical Science X-kit for grades 10 to 12 and Life Sciences.

Media Works

Three tablets were donated by Media Works to top three offenders who obtained the best results in the 2016 Grade 12 examinations.


The following dedicate programmes in building character and positive values are implemented and rolled-out in correctional centres in partnership with the NGO Heartlines:

- Living Positive Values: Discussion of eight values
- Values for Life: A practical resource for teaching about values for young people
- Living Godly Values: An eight week course of inculcating positive values
- Heartlines for Youth: A course specifically dedicated to youth and positive values
- Values for Money: Assisting a person to apply positive values regarding money
- CHATSEC (Combating HIV and Aids through Spiritual and Ethical Conduct): A course assisting inmates in making decisions that are based on positive values and building their character. This programme stems from a partnerships with the Chaplaincy of the SANDF.

The officials (Moral and Development Coordinators) and spiritual workers of different faiths are also trained in the conducting of the programmes.

The Directorate Spiritual
This has developed the following programmes that assist inmates in building character and applying positive values:

- Pre-Release Programme (Module on Applied Basic Values), in partnership with the Faith-Based Organisation Lotsha Ministries
- Family Firm Foundation - deals with restoring relations in the family and taking up responsibility for the family
- Healthy Relationships addresses the values of other persons and the importance of healthy relationships
- Self Image” builds character and values the self of the inmate

Spiritual Care also has maintained partnerships with several NGOs (see attached presentation for details of the organisations and their offerings, which are faith-based. There are also community radio stations such as Radio Pulpit and Umhlobo Wenene which link offenders with families and community. Correspondence courses are offered by bible institutions. Many institutions also assist in the provision of after-release programmes and services.

NGO Assistance generally
All correctional programmes rendered by NGOs and CBOs are quality assured by the different quality assurance committees.

MOUs are drafted once they are quality assurance and services then rendered accordingly. 

Community Corrections

Partnerships with academia, civil society organisations, government departments, entities, community and faith based organisations are in place to deliver effective reintegration support services.

Community Corrections History

· In 2016, Community Corrections will be in its 25th year in South Africa.

· Correctional Supervision was implemented on 15 August 1991 in South Africa

· During 1993 an entirely new release policy was developed and implemented on 1 of March 1994.

· During the year 2000 provision was made for the placement of awaiting trial persons (ATP) in the system of community corrections in terms of  Section 62 (f) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act 51/1977).

· Correctional and Parole Supervision serve as an alternative to incarceration and are collectively referred to as Community Corrections.


The mandates for community corrections are derived from:

Correctional Services Act, 111 of 1998 (Act No 111 of 1998), as amended

Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act 51 of 1977)

White Paper on Correctional Services (2005)

Electronic Monitoring Policy, 2014

Social Reintegration Policy, 2008

International Instruments on Non-Custodial Sentences

Halfway House Policy, (2013)

Community Participation Policy (2014)

Briefing by the Department of Correctional Services on its partnerships with sector stakeholders and service providers

Mr Zach Modise summarised the definitions of probationer and parolee.

A Probationer’ - refers to a person who is serving a sentence of correctional supervision and was sentenced by a court of law to correctional supervision or has been placed on correctional supervision by the CSPB/National Commissioner or his / her delegate.

‘Parolee’ - refers to a person who has been placed out of correctional centre before the expiry of the sentence to serve the remainder of their sentence of imprisonment in the community under the supervision and control of Community Corrections.

The Department of Correctional Services has formalised partnerships with various stakeholders such as NPOs, FBOs, CBOs and Government Departments for the employability, successful reintegration of parolees and probationers, support to ex–offenders and family support.

The DCS has also entered into agreement with Institutions of Higher Learning to utilise students to conduct community profiling within communities. The partnerships are summarised in the attached presentation. There is a wide range of institutions, including traditional leaders, other governmental agencies and NGOs. The higher learning institutions include the universities of Zululand, Venda, Limpopo, UNISA, and Kwazulu-Natal


Programmes rendered by stakeholders

· Skilling on construction, building, plumbing, welding and carpentry

· Employment

· Training on job preparedness

· Personal empowerment

· Entrepreneurial skills

· Veld fire fighting

· Beauty and hair

· Computer literacy

· Organic garden for patients

· Renovating housing, schools, churches

· Planting of trees, cleaning of parks

· Confectionery

· Web development, ICT


State of Half Way Houses: DCS briefing

The Department of Correctional Services noted, in this briefing, that many offenders who notionally should qualify for parole are in fact kept in a correctional centre for longer than they should be. Most of those kept beyond the normal time were not released on parole because they do not have addresses which can be monitored. In order to deal with this, the DCS had formed partnerships with NPOs to support those offenders who had no addresses or support systems, by establishing halfway houses.

In 2016/17 the DCS entered into contractual agreements in five regions with eight Halfway House agencies, to support families and released offenders for successful reintegration. The regions and the projects / institutions are summarised in the attached presentation.

Support Structures are provided by various service providers:
Department of Environmental Affairs: support the parolees and probationers by utilising them in cleaning of parks, grave yards, planting of trees in schools, renovation of schools, town halls and rehabilitating desks and broken windows.

Department of Public Works: partners with NPOs, NGOs, FBOs and CBOs to assist in skilling and training of parolees and probationers for job opportunities.

Department of Social Development: provides social relief of distress to parolees and probationers.

NPOs: support the parolees, probationers and ex – offenders with working tools (starter packs) for them to be able to have their own businesses and become entrepreneurs (promoting self-sufficiency.

Kishugu Group: (implementing agent of working on fire) in W/Cape, LMN and GP THE Group trained parolees on veld fire-fighting and employed them to earn a living for their families.

Working for Water: trains and employs parolees and probationers on environmental conservation initiatives. It enjoys sustained political support for its job creation efforts and the fight against poverty. Negotiations are in process.

Nunnovation Africa Foundation: trained ten parolees on ICT and Web Development and also placed them on experiential learning and provided them with a stipend of R2 000 for six months while in training. Three learners passed the training and were placed in Braamfontein ADIC Company for experiential learning and five parolees were placed at Mo Africa Itlhokomele Educational Projects for further training.

Moqhaka Development Agency: trained parolees on plumbing, building, carpentry welding and employed them. The parolees are employed into various aspects of skills within the construction of low cost housing such as civil engineering, horticulture and bricklaying by this NPO

Women of Value South Africa: trained ten female parolees on computer literacy and provides them with a stipend of R1 500.00 while on training.

New Life After Prison” has assisted parolees with starter pack tools to open their own business such as welding machines, car wash machines and sewing machines.

Nomasojabula Training Centre assisted the department by training and hiring parolees with an N6 Engineering qualification as an End User Computer Training Facilitator/ Moderator and one in the position of Skill Development and Training Practitioner (Mentor) who has a qualification in Building and Civil Construction.

City of Jo’burg’s Gateway project has employed ten parolees in active construction projects which have seen more confidence in the employment marketing strategy of parolees and probationers at Johannesburg Community Liaison.

Sekwanele Ex-Convict Reintegration Association of SA assists in offering job placements to parolees and ex – offenders.

Khulisa: provides restorative justice to victims, facilitate VOD and reintegration programmes.

Former Convicted Offenders Development Initiative (FOCODI): provides reintegration, rehabilitation and skills development to offenders.

Foundation for Victims of Crime (FOVOC ) traces victims to participate in the parole board hearings.

Bapong BaMogale Tribal Authority, through a partnership, provided five hectares of land for farming to the Department for ex- offenders (parolees and probationers), The cultivation has already began. This will help in creating employment for offenders and further enhance reintegration.

Service Points

According to Batho Pele principles, access to information should be made available to the people.

The Department has established service points in order to bring community corrections services closer to the communities where the offenders are residing. Since 2014, the Department managed to establish 528 service points nationally. DCS has noted that since the establishment of service points, the number of violations have significantly decreased, with more adherence to parole conditions by offenders. This further promotes partnerships with different stakeholders for a successful reintegration of offenders.


Community Profiling

Community profiling is done to draw a full picture of communities from which offenders are drawn, to try to identify resources and opportunities that are available within those communities, and to encourage collaboration and partnerships between individuals and organisations, and also to expand the base for community support for the offenders who return to the community. Again, the DCS referred to the agreements with the universities who are helping with the studies. .

Outreach Activities

The Department hosted ex-offender work sessions in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Western Cape and Free state/Northern Cape as part of on-going work to help with rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders back to the communities. More than three hundred ex-offenders attended this session. Also attending were NGO’s cluster and provincial and local cluster departments who are to establish ex-offender desks and to discuss how these could best be utilised in order to build a crime-free society. A special female ex-offender Entrepreneur Development session was hosted, in partnership with Still Rise, where more than 40 female ex-offenders received information from successful women in business on how to start their own business. They also received motivational and spiritual counselling.  This is intended to be a quarterly session held in different provinces.

Special projects
The DCS reported that these projects included:
- Revival of Community Correction Forums throughout all management areas, as part of its ongoing work to strengthen Community Safety Forums. This aims to put communities in the centre of the work of corrections and to forge partnerships with relevant stakeholders to fight crime, help with poverty alleviation programmes and  strengthen and market  restorative justice in communities.

There are also ongoing partnerships with Government departments, including the departments of Social Development, SASSA, Home Affairs and Labour. These aim to provide support to ex-offenders as part of vulnerable groups to reintegrate back to communities and prevent re-offending.

Restorative justice forms a huge part of the programmes. 63 auxiliary social workers have been appointed to address the participation of victims in DCS activities. The policy document is being reviewed and elements of the Child Justice Act will be incorporated. Partnerships and collaborative arrangements are in place with religious leaders, NPO’s and traditional leaders. These partnerships strengthen support mechanisms for victims, offenders, parolees and probationers. The DCS believes that this will play a major role in successful reintegration of offenders into communities.

DCS participates actively in the Victims Empowerment programmes and Victims' Forum, which plays its own very important role in public education, awareness campaigns on victims' rights, and services for victims of crime.

The restorative justice partnerships were outlined (see attached presentation for full details). Some of the special programmes included the Hope Prison Ministry, who have offered DCS 9 restorative justice facilitators at Brandvlei Management Area. The church is also conducting Family and Offender Mediation. FOVOC, an NPO working with victims of crime, traces and prepares victims for restorative justice initiatives. Traditional leaders also play an important role in the VOD Forums. The Restitution Foundation and Khulumani are working with the victims and offender of the Worcester Bombing. The UKZN College of Humanities is training DCS personnel on the facilitation of VODs.

DCS outlined its main challenges as:

  • Budgetary Constraints
  • Funding model for NPOs
  • Victim participation
  • Criminal record expungement
  • Stigmatisation



The Chairperson remarked that a lot of work is being done by the Department, but the impact of this work needs to be promoted to the public.

Mr Selfe thanked the Department and emphasised the importance of criminal record expungements. He explained that job applicants with a criminal offence on their CVs are less likely to be considered by potential employers. There are several jurisdictions around the world that have “second chance legislation”, which allows for offenders to have their criminal records provisionally expunged once they have satisfied the requirements of their sentence, including the necessary rehabilitative and reintegration programmes. He asked that the Committee should consider introducing similar legislation. He pointed out that that real test of success in any system of corrections, is the re-offending rate. The Committee therefore needs to know how many people re-offend as this will be a good indicator of the success or otherwise of the programmes offered both inside and outside of the correctional system.

Mr Selfe expressed concern that the DCS had contemplated providing social grants to parolees and probationers. Ex-offenders should rather be supported by means of working in appropriate Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP) programmes and be remunerated by working in socially useful enterprises. This approach will support offenders, while simultaneously providing socially useful services.

Mr Bongo added that providing social grants to parolees and probationers amounts to the Department “multiplying its efforts by zero”. The DCS will already have spent money to rehabilitate offenders, therefore the provision of a social grant is not appropriate.

Mr Bongo said that the DCS requires a new public service initiative; the views of the DCS may differ from the views of the community.

Mr Bongo had another concern. During an oversight visit, Committee Members noted that land dedicated to farming is not being used properly. Mr Bongo recommended that the DCS should develop a dashboard on how ex-offenders' newly acquired skills were being utilised after they had completed a course, and to consider how outsourcing might also work. The Department must also ensure that Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) are self-owned. 

Mr Bongo strongly suggested that the Committee should also be taken through a dashboard exercise relating to the number of offenders that re-offend after completing a full rehabilitation course or programme offered through the DSC.

Mr Bongo followed up on Mr Selfe's point, saying that ex-offenders who apply to government vacancies are asked specifically to disclose if they have a criminal record, and such disclosure will hamper their chances of securing employment. He agreed that it would be a progressive stance to expunge criminal records from the system, particularly once the parolee had completed the entire course with certification.

Mr Bongo recommended the creation of a new register for ex-offenders who apply for jobs, and said that the Committee and officials could work together to ensure that a new system that does not adversely affect the employment opportunities for ex-offenders is in place, provided they have completed the prescribed rehabilitative programmes. He added that many offenders, despite having received accreditation and training in correctional facilities, will re-offend because they are unable to secure employment with their criminal record. This phenomonen needs to be prioritised as it is at the centre of the re-offender rate of parolees and probationers.

Ms Mothapo thanked the DCS for the presentation. She asked why, in the Skills Development Programme, nothing was mentioned for Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West. She commented that whilst she appreciated the use of three official languages for marketing correctional programmes, she would appreciate it even more if the previously-marginalised official languages were also for used for marketing purposes.

Ms Mothapo explained that it was agreed with the DCS last year that the Naturena Half Way House would be named Mthembu House, in honour of the late ANC councillor, Ms Mthembu, who was passionate about community corrections. She asked for a progress report on this.

Ms Mthembu furthermore commended the Department on breaking the Guinness World Record for the biggest knitted blanket, which was knitted by offenders in the Western Cape, for Mandela Day.

Ms Mothapo referred to the Spiritual Care programme and asked the Department to elaborate on what the inclusion of African Traditional Religion entails, pointing out that very often government programmes are centred on the Christian faith.

Ms Mothapo remarked that the presentation by the Department was commendable. However, she remained concerned that the bulk of the community does not know what the Department is doing, as there is little publicity about its programmes and efforts to support offenders. The DCS is regarded as a department that merely incarcerates rather than developing individuals. She asked what that the Communications and Marketing representatives are doing to market the work done by the DCS?

Mr Maila also thanked the Department. He reiterated that correctional services issues are also societal issues. Mr Maila said that for this reason partnerships are of crucial importance.

Mr Maila asked whether anything was being done for offenders enrolled in a training programme, who might find themselves unable to complete their programmes; was there anything in place to allow them to complete their training after leaving the correctional facility? 

Mr Maila asked if the correctional training centres are able to be used to their full capacity. He also asked if it was possible for offenders to be transferred to other correctional facilities that offer the training programmes they wish to be enrolled in.

Mr Maila pointed out that in areas such as Limpopo several communities have erected their own schools, which are not being used. He suggested that Correctional Services, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education, should consider using any unused buildings, convert them to schools, and use the land around them for building halfway houses or even agricultural training centres.

Mr Maila observed that NGOs are located primarily in urban areas. Mr Maila said that partnerships with NGOs in rural areas should be emphasised in order to establish various NPOs throughout the country, targeted at rural areas.

Mr Maila agreed that repeat-offending is a challenge for DCS and that the issue of expunging criminal records also requires attention.

The Chairperson said that the progress made by the Department of Correctional Services is undermined in different ways.

Firstly, he expressed the view that the DCS is being let down by the departments which are mandated to prevent the challenges experienced by the DCS. The Chairperson emphasised that the work done by DCS is a societal issue and not solely a departmental issue.

The Chairperson added that educational programmes should be developed that specifically aim to create a society which shuns criminality and wrongdoing. Therefore, programmes such as spiritual programmes should not be about “preparing people to go to heaven” but about developing the character of young people. He furthermore recommended that any educational programmes provided in correctional facilities should also be introduced into communities in order to ascertain if the programme service providers are promoting character-building, life-orientation and civic education. The youth are instrumental in nation-building and a collaborative effort needs to be made between the respective Departments to provide such programmes.

The Chairperson said that the “Read to Redeem” campaign provided by the Department of Correctional Services is both similar and complementary to the “Read to Lead” campaign provided by the Department of Basic Education. He added that the AVBOB Foundation built container libraries are able to support such developmental campaigns. The Karabo Youth Development Consortium collaborates with the SETAs, the Department of Labour and the “Second Chance” Project initiated by the Department of Basic Education to provide 500 unemployed youth and ex-offenders with work opportunities. He firmly believed that if the Departments collaborate and coordinate existing partnerships, progress can be made. He then made the recommendation that an umbrella organisation should be formed in order to avoid duplication.

The Chairperson agreed with Mr Selfe and Mr Bongo that it would be going too far for the DCS to even contemplate providing social grants to parolees and probationers. Skills-development in correctional facilities aims to cultivate a culture of self-help. He recommended that the matter of social grants be investigated further. He made the point that there was a pattern where social grants provided to the youth are exploited and they become dependent on social welfare from the government. He cited reports that young girls become pregnant and continue to have children in order to receive financial support from the government, instead of seeking employment or other opportunities.

The Chairperson further indicated that the government has land and buildings which it cannot even account for, although the DPW should be able, in collaboration with other departments, to identify what buildings and facilities are to be allocated to the departments. He recommended that any unused buildings should be allocated for the purpose of training offenders after their release. Furthermore, government departments and municipalities should source services from such centres, in order to provide ex-offenders with employment opportunities, as well as assist government with its programmes. For instance, any former offenders trained in agriculture should be allocated land to cultivate their produce and then supply it to entities such as the orphanages and old-age homes under the Department of Social Development, or the National School Nutrition Programme, provided by the Department of Basic Education. The Chairperson said that Members and government should facilitate these relationships.

The Chairperson added that several government departments have Chaplains; for instance the Department of Defence also worked in collaboration with several churches, but that a lack of coordination hindered their attempts. He would like to see the chaplains attending a meeting to report what they were doing, and identify any commonalities or duplications. The chaplains in government should also collaborate with other Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) to develop a programme to guide Spiritual Care overall. He cited a prime example of the provincial Department of Social Development in Gauteng. Ms Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, MEC for Social Development (Gauteng), had worked with Faith Based Organisations at various levels, across the five regions, with a new National inter-Faith Council chapter due to be launched later in the month. He believed that collaboration at all levels would result in automatic coordination at all levels.

The Chairperson reiterated that whilst the DCS was producing good work, it was not visible enough. He suggested that the DCS should attend the Social Development launch in order to interact with the other departments and create a presentation highlighting DCS successes as well as its proposed partnerships.

The Chairperson also said that he was impressed with the work done by AVBOB Foundation, which had purchased a building in Soweto to use for its collaboration with the FBOs in Soweto.

In Soweto, the municipality had audited all 38 wards, and had allocated an official to each Ward as a representative, which improved communication and coordination.

The Chairperson further proposed that the DCS should establish Community One-Stop Development Centres to coordinate initiatives between the departments, and suggested that this Committee could assist with mobilising and getting assistance on the ground.

He also pointed out that Parliamentary Constituency Offices (PCOs) were not providing efficient service due to lack of direction and were wasting taxpayers' money. Through the DCS collaboration, the delivery of PCO services could be improved.

Ms Mothapo asked how many have offenders have registered for grade 12.

The Chairperson recommended that a pilot project modelled on Vapula Mohale is conducted, to develop a model for neglected schools.

Mr Maila added that the DBE was already planning to merge some schools.

Mr Modise noted that the DCS had been preparing notes as Members were speaking, but many of the questions would require longer answers that could be provided later. He would address what he could.

He noted that the Ex-Offender Outreach initiative had grown to reach ex-offenders in almost every region. He agreed that ex-offenders did face challenges related to employment, security, shelter, material assistance and the expungement of criminal records. The DCS had already made presentations, and was now working with the Department of Justice to address the challenges.

He noted that some of the currently-serving officials with the DCS had criminal records but had been ordered to perform alternative sentencing, and he would strongly urge other departments to try to do the same. However, the DCS was currently assessing its policy around using ex-offenders to address gangsterism. The gangs had their own sub-culture which was not fully understood by the officials.

Mr Modise also described some of the work initiatives. DCS offenders were used to assist with opening of schools; two weeks before the opening of the school, teams of offenders from virtually all correctional services facility would offer time and resources for maintenance, cleaning and refurbishment of these schools, under a Ministerial campaign implemented in various regions.

He noted that DCS was able to play a significant role in ensuring maintenance of the facilities, in both rural and urban areas. The rural areas had their own challenges, with lack of fencing, sanitation or running water. DCS wished to make a positive impact and difference by using inmate labour to upgrade the facilities.

Mr Modise indicated that unfortunately the DCS could not provide the Committee with the statistics on re-offending now. Significant work has been done, but the Department's management had not visited every facility. Specific facilities had been prioritised for attention, although the DCS realised that this was not the ideal approach. DCS would be extending its research to include more cases and a broader study of the re-offending rate. He noted that some organisations, such as the Institute for Security Studies, had reported a re-offender rate of 80%. However, neither the DCS nor the Department of Justice agreed with this figure, which was reached by counting together all categories, since the Departmental approach was to differentiate the various crime categories and terms served. However the DCS should be in a position to produce a full report by the end of the year.

In relation to the suggestions on expungement, Mr Modise said that some advanced work had been done, but the policy decisions for expungement had to be signed off by the President, on the recommendation of the Portfolio Committee, who would be able to get further input from the Department. Mr Modise was of the view that criminal records should not remain after a ten year period as this would hinder the employment prospects of ex-offenders.

Mr Modise admitted that the MERSETA accreditation process in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West had not progressed as intended. He said that these regions will be prioritised in order to ensure that the accreditation process takes place.

The Commissioner indicated that that the offenders will be transferred to the correctional centres where the courses are being provided. For this reason, a number of offenders from the Western Cape and Eastern Cape have been transferred to Kimberley as well as from other centres to the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre. In addition, the DCS was trying to develop centres of expertise to provide offenders with specific services such a psychologists; although not all centres had psychologists available at present, the DCS would ensure that this did happen.

Mr Modise thanked Members for all the comments. He described the DCS as a department in transformation. It is committed to improving its integrated communications strategy and will ensure that the DCS and its efforts become more visible in the media and that the achievements of the Department are shared with the public.

Mr Modise also commented on the suggestion of social grants for ex-offenders. South Africa is experiencing serious social and economic challenges, and whilst it would be in favour of offenders participating in the Expanded Public Works Programmes of the Department of Public Works, it was not in favour of grants. There is a need to balance the services provided to those who have offended society and the services provided to law abiding citizens, and recommended that the primary responsibility was to ensure that law-abiding citizens had access to the opportunities first.

DC Smalberger answered questions on the statistics for education. In 2014, 68 out of 92 Matric candidates passed. In 2015, 81 out of 111 Matric candidates passed. In 2016, 101 out of 140 Matric candidates passed – and of these, 40 had passed with a bachelor's degree standard of pass.

He commented that all religious entities with inmates in the correctional facilities, are allowed to see the offenders as well as to provide services and programmes to inmates of their religious denomination. African traditional religious spiritual care services are provided to offenders who subscribe to the African traditional religion.

Ms Shishi Sello, Deputy Commissioner: Personal Well-Being, Department of Correctional Services, explained that the Quality Assurance Committee assesses services and programmes which the service providers intend to offer for free. This committee ensures that the programmes and services are formalised, standardised and screened, in order to determine their appropriateness and relevance. The National Committee has developed a quality assurance manual to guide the Department on the correct procedures to be followed. She expanded that a service provider would firstly have to make an application stating what type of service it could offer. If more than one region was contemplated, a national Quality Assurance committee would assess the programme, otherwise a regional committee would be able to do so if this was to be offered in one region only. In some cases, the DBE and Department of Sports and Recreation might quality-assure their own programmes but also extend these offerings to the DCS. Should the programmes have been through a first quality assurance, they will not be assessed again by the DCS, although the service provider will be required to sign an operational agreement. The purpose of the quality assurance was to assess whether the programme being offered is appropriate for the DCS.

Ms Sello further explained that the Operational Agreement with Management requires the service provider to confirm how often they will be in the correctional centre, to whom the programme is targeted, and the duration of the programmes. Each management area will be best equipped to address the unique features of its own area and assess the safety of the programme.

Ms Sello added that specific officials are allocated to monitor and evaluate the processes which have been undertaken. They are also expected to produce a report on the performance of the service or programme.

The Chairperson requested that the DCS should now work with the Committee to identify all issues needing to be followed up.

The Chairperson asked if the initiative made by Ntate Zanele Zakhe and Mathabata was turned down and if so, by whom. The initial application to the Chair of Chairs was turned down. He reminded Members that this initiative would be able to predict and deal with problems in correctional centres at an earlier stage and he requested that it should be revived and re-submitted.

Mr Modise told the Committee that the process of renaming the Naturena Half Way House is under way and the Department is awaiting the Minister’s confirmation.

Speaking to the comment of the Chairperson on NGOs dealing with the halfway houses, Mr Modise explained that although DCS does have a long-standing partnership with the South African National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO), NICRO had opted not to bid for the Half Way Houses, as the budget offered by the DCS (which provides a stipend only for day-to-day running of the facility, but no profit) was inadequate. Any NPOs that have Half Way Houses are expected to have their own funding. Although in theory the Department of Social Development has the final responsibility for the Half Way Houses, the DCS has assumed responsibility for the facilities.

Mr Modise explained that, in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education, Project Funda Msanzi had been introduced in correctional facilities. This allowed offenders and scholars from nearby areas to compete in reading and interpretation. Unfortunately budgetary constraints prevented the programme from being rolled out just as intended, but this project did promote awareness that crime does not pay. The Department invests in offenders during their incarceration, and therefore should enable them to utilise the skills for which the DCS has paid, by providing them with employment opportunities,

The Chairperson said that the Read to Redeem is an important campaign. He recommended that the Department should approach the private sector for funding, given the budget constraints. Public and private partnerships should be able to take forward the campaign. He would like to see the Naturena Half Way House being a community house, rather than under the control of an NPO such as NICRO. If the DCS was amenable, the Committee would facilitate engagements with the province, municipality and private sector around a funding model.

The meeting was adjourned.

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: