The Deputy Minister of Correctional Services gave an introduction to both parts of the briefing. He highlighted the progress in the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), noting that in the last year 59 790 sentenced offenders were subjected to correctional programmes, 10 054 inmates were enrolled for adult education and training, and 1 035 participated in further education and training. A 72% matric pass rate was achieved and compliance levels on probation and parole had improved to 98%. The number of victims participating in restorative justice process was gradually increasing. 82% of affected inmates were receiving treatment for tuberculosis, 99% of inmates had been tested for HIV/AIDS, and 97.9% of those affected were provided with antiretroviral medication. However, the recent Western Cape High Court finding that the conditions at the Cape Town Pollsmoor Correctional Centre remand detention facility were not compliant with the Correctional Services Act was very serious, particularly since the DCS recognised that conditions in many other correctional centres were no better. The problem of overcrowding remained very serious and the DCS would have to provide monthly reports on efforts to reduce overcrowding, which would be a huge challenge. It would also have to re-think the approach to correctional services and to improving the current parole system, which should contribute to reducing overcrowding. Input was still required from the Cluster before amending legislation could be presented.
The DCS then presented its 2017/18 Annual Performance Plan (APP), noting that internal scrutiny by the Department and external scrutiny by the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) were vital to ensure that there was no infringement on the rights of offenders. DCS conceded that overcrowding was an issue but commented that this was in fact a worldwide problem, and that the Department was trying to analyse the trends. The budget for the five programmes were presented, noting that the allocations were R4.15 billion for administration, R13.9 billion for incarceration, R1.82 billion for rehabilitation, R1.99 billion for care, and R855 million for social reintegration. R15.7 billion would be allocated to compensation of employees, R5.9 billion to goods and services, R127 million on transfers and subsidies, and R941 million to capital and fixed assets. A regional allocation was also presented. It was noted that the DCS was working with National Treasury and the Department of Public Works, in addition to the Cluster, to address ageing infrastructure and a correct balance between incarceration, rehabilitation and restorative justice programmes. DCS was also investing in social integration programmes such as victim-offender dialogue, and had effected improvements to its information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, including investment in biometric scanning technology. Given the decline in allocations to all departments, it was necessary for DCS to try to achieve more with less resources, and it had needed to review its five-year targets. It had finally managed to achieve an unqualified audit. The medium term spending would be focused on protecting society by detaining inmates in a safe, secure and humane conditions, correcting offender behaviour by providing sentenced offenders with needs-based rehabilitation programmes and interventions, and reintegrating offenders into the community as law-abiding citizens. Its budget of R22.8 billion was 5.7% higher than the previous year although it was likely to be cancelled out by the CPI forecast of 6%. Reductions were likely to affect compensation of employees, and stringent cost containment , including strict controls on filling of posts, had been introduced, with around 5.6% of posts being unfunded in the next year. Funding had been reprioritised to ensure sufficient staff in rehabilitation and social integration. Details were given of budgets, spending, mandates and staff in each of the five programmes. Programme 2: Incarceration took the bulk of the budget, because it had the highest headcount and also had a heavy security component. Programme 3 was responsible for factories, workshops and agricultural facilities, including 21 farms and 96 small sites used for self-sufficiency. DCS hoped to raise the percentage of sentenced offenders in work programmes to 80%. Programme 4: Care largely spent on needs-based care, and Programme 5: Social Integration was highly labour-intensive for supervision.
Some Members expressed satisfaction with the presentation, particularly the announcement of a shift from incarceration to rehabilitation, but others felt that there was in fact still not enough being done, comparing the budgets for all four other programmes to the incarceration one. Several raised concerns regarding the projected employee reductions, but it was further explained that backlog payments accounted for a large slice. They questioned the numbers of SADC nationals in South African correctional centres, but were told that the figures quoted by Members were not correct. Members suggested that the DCS should negotiate with National Treasury for permission to retain its projected annual revenue, and were told that this was already being done to address constraints. Members asked about the production of the farms and whether inmates were being trained to make uniforms, and whether inmates were being paid.
The Deputy Minister Makwetla then noted the role of the JICS in providing support to inmates when the functioning of the DCS was inadequate and said that its independence would ensure better management of the DCS. However, he was concerned firstly that the JICS delegates arrived late and that no separate presentation documents were circulated, and the Deputy Minister and Members agreed that although a brief outline of the JICS budget had been given, far more was needed on the plans. It was noted that the funding for the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) had increased from R65 million in the 2016/17 financial year to R69 million in the 2017/18 year, with funding specifically earmarked by National Treasury, with a likely increase of 7.1% in the subsequent years. The Deputy Minister said that he would urge the DCS to manage the JICS more carefully and Members noted that the Committee was continuing to advocate greater independence for the JICS.
Appointment of Acting Chairperson
Ms C Pilane-Majake (ANC) was unanimously elected as Acting Chairperson.
Department of Correctional Services 2017 Annual Performance Plan & Budget
Deputy Minister's introduction
Mr Thabang Makwetla (ANC), Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, extended apologies on behalf of the Minister of Justice.
Mr Makwetla noted that the DCS presentation formed part of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) mid-term budget planning for Parliament’s fifth administration. This medium-term strategic framework constitutes the first full five years since the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) vision for 2030. .He emphasized that the DCS’s annual strategic plans were ultimately cast against the backdrop of unfavorable economic conditions in South Africa and globally.
Mr Makwetla highlighted the recent Western Cape High Court judgment, in which Judge V Saldhana found that the conditions at Cape Town’s Pollsmoor prison remand detention facility were not compliant with the requirements of the Correctional Services Act, No 111 of 1998. He stressed the seriousness of the situation, noting that the conditions at the Pollsmoor facility also pertained in a number of other correctional centres throughout South Africa. He conceded that accommodation facilities, cleanliness, health standards, infrastructure and provision of meals fell short of what is required by the Act. He stated that the problem of overcrowding in South African prisons was huge. Following the judgment, the DCS is expected to provide monthly reports on efforts to reduce overcrowding at the Pollsmoor facility and other centres. This would be a formidable challenge, considering the resources available to the Department.
Mr Makwetla stressed that it was the responsibility of DCS to ensure that inmates are rehabilitated through correctional centres (CC) in a manner which allows them to become constructive individuals. There was tangible progress from the 243 correctional centres countrywide: in the 2015/16 financial year, 59 790 sentenced offenders were subjected to correctional programmes, 10 054 inmates enrolled for adult education and training, and 1 035 participated in further education and training. During this period, there was a matric pass rate of 72% among inmates. Furthermore, he stated that compliance levels for probation and parole had improved to reach a “historic” level of 98%, while the number of victims participating in restorative justice process was gradually increasing.
DCS had made progress in the fight against tuberculosis, with 82% of affected inmates currently receiving treatment. 99% of inmates had been tested for HIV/AIDS, whilst 97.9% of those affected were provided with anti-retroviral medication (ARVs).
He stated that the overcrowding phenomenon prevalent in centres around South Africa necessitates a rethink in the approach towards correctional services: a new archetype geared towards social integration of former offenders, specifically through improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the current parole system. The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services had requested a review of the parole system in 2015 and the National Commissioner of Correctional Services had overseen a task team for the development of a draft position paper, in consultation with internal and external stakeholders. The draft Parole Bill would be presented after finalisation of the position paper. The revised parole system would contribute positively in reducing levels of overcrowding, but it still required further input from the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster. Furthermore, a draft framework for the inter-state transfer of foreign national inmates is being developed, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders and Departments.
Annual Performance Plan & Estimate of the National Expenditure 2017/2018
Mr Zach Modise, National Commissioner of Correctional Services, thanked the Deputy Minister for his overview.
Mr Modise stated that the 2017/18 Annual Performance Plan (APP) encapsulates the mid-term objectives for the current and following three financial years. Effective management of the DCS required internal accountability as well as external scrutiny. The Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) played a crucial role in external scrutiny, promoting transparency and accountability, ensuring that the rights of offenders were not infringed upon.
He commented that the issue of overcrowding in correctional centres was in fact a worldwide phenomenon. For this reason, the Department’s approach to addressing the recent court judgment goes beyond the narrow objective of reducing numbers at Pollsmoor, towards also analysing current trends in the main “Big Five” correctional centres across South Africa. This investigation would better equip the DCS to formulate a national policy to address overcrowding. In formulating the national policy, the DCS would engage with the JCPS cluster, the National Treasury and the Department of Public Works (DPW). Because current infrastructure was aging, significant work would be required to improve existing facilities, as well as in motivating the construction of new facilities – particularly in the metropolitan areas.
The DCS’ ultimate objective was to create a safe and secure society for all South Africans. Mr Modise stressed the need to achieve a balance between incarceration, rehabilitation and restorative justice programmes. He noted that the Department would continue to invest in social integration programmes such as victim-offender dialogue. The DCS had undertaken improvements to its information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, including investment in biometric scanning technology to assist in the identification of inmates. This technology is expected to be implemented in the first quarter of the 2017/2018 financial year.
Given the dwindling budgets of all organs of state, Mr Modise stressed the importance of the DCS being innovative and achieving more with less resources. The DCS budget allocation for the 2017/18 had been reduced by R234.8 million compared to budget estimates. This necessitated a review of the Department’s five-year targets to ensure a realistic and proper performance framework. Despite the budget reduction, he believed that the DCS had the potential to eclipse the achievements of the 2015/16 financial year. The DCS had received its first unqualified audit opinion since 1994.
Mr Modise assured the Committee that the DCS remained committed to transforming the correctional system for the safety and benefit of South Africans.
Mr Nicodemus Ligege, Chief Financial Officer, DCS, also emphasised that this budget was being presented in the context of limited financial resources and a backdrop of budget cuts. Prioritizing funding and resources towards core programmes would be paramount. DCS’s medium term spending would be focused on protecting society by detaining inmates in a safe, secure and humane conditions, correcting offender behaviour by providing sentenced offenders with needs-based rehabilitation programmes and interventions, and reintegrating offenders into the community as law-abiding citizens. He noted that this focus was informed by Chapter 12 of the NDP and was coherent with government’s 2014-2019 medium term strategic framework.
DCS had been granted a budget of R22.8 billion for the 2017/18 financial year, reflecting a 5.7% growth on the previous year. However, this increase was in fact below the consumer price index (CPI) forecast of 6%, creating some pressure for the DCS to adjust. In terms of budget baseline reductions, the final revised allocations for the DCS would be R22.814 billion for 2017/18, R24.454 billion in 2018/19, and R26,155 billion in 2019/20.
In this regard, he noted that reductions totaling R234.8 million from budget estimates for 2017/18 would affect the compensation of employees (a R175,5 million reduction), as well as payments for capital assets (a R59.3 million reduction). In response to budget reductions and shortfalls, Mr Ligege informed the Committee that the DCS had implemented stringent cost containment measures which took effect in November 2016.
Certain allocations were earmarked by the 2017 Appropriation Bill, including R159.4 million for repair and maintenance of facilities, R666.9 million for upgrading, rehabilitation and refurbishment of correctional facilities, and R15.77 billion for compensation of employees. The DCS was requested to adjust programme expenditure on compensation of employees to align with this budget ceiling. Mr Ligege stated that the DCS was currently exercising stringent controls over the filling of posts, the composition of staff profiles, and implementing measures, where appropriate.
Mr Ligege noted that of the 42 006 posts funded in the 2016/17 financial year, 2 371 posts (-5.64%) would no longer have funding in the 2017/18 year, due to budget baseline reductions. That figure is expected to rise to 3470 posts (-8.26%) in the 2018/19 year, according to estimates. In order to ensure that the core programmes of rehabilitation and social integration do not suffer under these cuts, the DCS has reprioritised funding to allow 18.8% budget increase for rehabilitation, and 13.5% increase for social integration.
The DCS presented the budget for its five programmes; namely administration, incarceration, rehabilitation, care, and social reintegration. The revised estimate of national expenditure (after budget cuts) for 2017/18 was R4.15 billion for administration, R13.9 billion for incarceration, R1.82 billion for rehabilitation, R1.99 billion for care, and R855 million for social reintegration.
Mr Ligege noted that Programme 1: Administration was a labour-intensive programme, where spending was primarily on the compensation of employees, as well as on goods and services related to personnel. The programme had 5259 funded posts, and is expected to spend R13.117 billion over the medium term.
Programme 2: Incarceration was also a labour-intensive programme, where spending is focused primarily on compensation of employees and capital infrastructure projects. The programme has a funded headcount of 28 003 posts, and constitutes the bulk of the Department’s spending at R45.4 billion over the medium term. Mr Ligege noted that these funds also support the Department’s efforts to reduce the number of inmates that escape correctional centres, as well as various safety activities and functions.
Programme 3: Rehabilitation provides offenders with needs-based interventions that facilitate inmates’ rehabilitation and social integration. The programme has a funded headcount of 2 456 posts, with a budget of R5.825 billion over the medium term, of which 76.1% is allocated to salaries of officials conducting rehabilitation programmes. The remaining funds were utilised for Departmental workshops, factories and agricultural facilities, including 21 farms and 96 small sites used for self-sufficiency and to provide work opportunities to offenders. The Department aims to increase the percentage of sentenced offenders to correctional programmes from 69% to 80% over the medium term.
Programme 4: Care provides for needs-based care services aimed at maintaining the personal well-being of inmates at correctional facilities. The programme has a funded headcount of 1 710 posts, with a budget of R6.4 billion over the medium-term. The bulk of this spending would be on goods and services, specifically to agency and support services, including catering, health and hygiene services.
Programme 5: Social Integration is concerned with offenders’ preparation for release, and the facilitation of social reintegration of offenders back into their communities. The programme has a headcount of 2 207 posts, with a R2.7 billion budget allocation over the medium term. The bulk of this spending is on compensation of employees and related goods and services, considering the labour-intensive nature of its largest sub-programme, on supervision.
Speaking to the economic classification, Mr Ligege reported that in the 2017/18 financial year, R15.7 billion would be allocated to compensation of employees, R5.9 billion to goods and services, R127 million on transfers and subsidies, and R941 million on capital and fixed assets. The relatively large budget for goods and services was a result of the DCS’s provision of office accommodation, municipal services, public-private partnership (PPP) payments, agency and support services, and contractual payments for repairs and maintenance of facilities.
R3.4 billion was allocated to the Gauteng province, R3.2 billion to the Western Cape, R2.093 billion to the Eastern Cape, R2.7 billion to Kwazulu-Natal, R2.3 billion to Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North-West provinces, and R2.3 billion to the Free State and Northern Cape provinces.
DCS projected a steady increase in the average number of parolee and supervised offenders, with a slightly lower projection for the average number of sentenced offenders and remand detainees in the current and two subsequent financial years.
Mr Ligege noted that the funding for Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) had increased from R65 million in the 2016/17 financial year to R69 million in the 2017/18 year. National Treasury had earmarked funding for this purpose, while medium term estimates suggested a steady increase of JICS funding (7.1%) in the subsequent years.
Mr J Selfe (DA) applauded the DCS’s reported shift in emphasis from incarceration to rehabilitation, stating that there was “much to celebrate” from the budget presentation. In response to the Deputy-Minister’s point on the inter-state transfer of foreign national inmates, Mr Selfe stated that around 30 000 of the sentenced inmates in South Africa were from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries alone, so the situation was serious. He raised concern around the budget for compensation of employees, noting that despite the ring-fenced budget increases in the medium term expenditure framework for this purpose, the number of employees in the DCS was projected to decrease. If these projections were accurate, the remaining staff would thus receive a salary increase well above inflation levels, as the compensation budget would be divided amongst fewer individuals. He questioned the impact of declining staff numbers on the Department’s ability to perform the services of its core mandate. Lastly, Mr Selfe asked whether spending on Programme 3: Rehabilitation was for sentenced offenders exclusively, or whether parolee and supervised case inmates were also funded by this programme.
Mr S Swart (ACDP) shared the sentiments of Mr Selfe, applauding the reported improvements at the DCS. He expressed concern about the recent legal judgment against the DCS in relation to conditions at Pollsmoor remand detention facility. As the Deputy-Minister had stated, the conditions at Pollsmoor were not dissimilar to other facilities around South Africa, so he wondered if there were then likely to be further legal claims. He asked what the DCS was now doing to improve the conditions at facilities other than Pollsmoor, considering the national overcrowding epidemic. According to the Minister’s report in the previous year, around 23 similar cases were decided against DCS, who incurred substantial legal fees.
Adding to Mr Selfe’s point on the possible reduction in the number of employees at the DCS, Mr Swart noted that staff reductions may have serious safety implications for remaining officers. He argued that the inter-state transfer of prisoners may help but DCS would still need to watch the situation carefully. According to the Department’s financial statements for 2015, revenue of R129 million was transferred in its entirety back to the National Treasury, and he wondered if National Treasury could not be persuaded to keep this within the DCS funding, and whether the Committee should make recommendations on this? Retaining the funds would surely create an incentive for the DCS to increase revenue, and he asked what the DCS budgeted as revenue for the current financial year? Lastly, he requested an update on the ongoing Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation.
Mr W Horn (DA) also asked about the declining number of posts at the DCS, noting that although around 10 000 posts would be lost during the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period, none of these posts would be lost in the rehabilitation and social reintegration programmes, and only 200 from the incarceration programme. He queried this, saying that it was not possible that all 10 000 posts would thus be lost from the Administration and Care programmes. He also felt that the information was inconsistent with the increase in the budget for compensation of employees.
Mr Horn raised a question regarding the proposed increase in bed space for inmates over the period. He argued that this was a particular area of under-performance by the Department in recent years, and a recurring theme, so he specifically requested what progress had been made in achieving the target of 18 000 additional beds over the next ten years. Has the Department been engaging with the Treasury and DPW in this regard, and should the DCS not focus on achieving targets for additional bed space year-on-year?
Mr Horn commended the ring-fenced funding for JICS, stating that it was a positive development for realising the operational independence of JICS, but if the funds are allocated from the DCS, he asked that the delegation must speak to the issue of JICS officials receiving their salaries only after the end of the month.
Mr N Matiase (EFF) argued that the estimates for national expenditure showed improvements in certain areas, but overall he felt that the presentation failed to show how the Department is complying with the National Treasury in terms of cost containment measures. He noted that over 70% of the Department’s annual budget allocation is spent on the salaries of employees. Unlike Mr Selfe, he was not convinced that there was a marked shift from incarceration to rehabilitation, because R45.4 billion is allocated to incarceration over the MTEF period, whilst R5.8 is allocated to rehabilitation, R6.4 billion is allocated to care, and R2.7 billion is allocated for social integration. Budgets for the other programmes combined do not come close to the R45.4 billion budgeted for incarceration over the MTEF period.
Mr Matiase noted that the Institute for Race Relations’ Centre for Risk Analysis indicated that the statistics of murder in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces are 54 per 1000 people, and 53 per 1000 people in other provinces. He argued that the socio-economic dynamics of South African society spillover into the inmate population at DCS facilities. To what extent is this information being shared with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to mitigate this spillover effect? Mr Matiase argued that South Africa’s credit-rating downgrade to junk status could have an additional impact on the instances of crime and criminality in the country. In view of the DCS’ substantial budget for compensation of employees, what is the Department doing to create jobs in labour-intensive programmes?
Mr Matiase requested to know who the “agents” were in relation to catering services and whether the DCS did not have internal capacity to provide this service, without the need for PPPs? The tender system to acquire these agencies was undisclosed.
Mr Matiase argued that there were performance aspects that the DCS may be trying to hide, including instances of corruption, cronyism and ‘tenderpreneurship’. In this regard, how many correctional facilities are privately owned and how many are privately constructed? He noted that the Mangaung prison in Bloemfontein had been privately constructed, and asked about the cost model for constructing such facilities? He wanted to know how government can ensure responsible spending for the maintenance of these privately constructed facilities?
Mr M Maila (ANC) requested clarity on the reported “21 farms and 96 small sites for self-sufficiency”, asking whether inmates are receiving a salary for their work, or if this was considered skills development? Adding to Mr Matiase’s point regarding PPPs, Mr Maila requested to know how many cooperatives the DCS is working with, where are these goods and services sourced from and whether articles such as uniforms are purchased from big stores or smaller, local businesses?
Mr B Bongo (ANC) appreciated the presentation, and expressed his hope that the Minister would soon be in better health. He shared the sentiment of Mr Selfe regarding the shift from incarceration to rehabilitation, as well as improvements in the budget. He asked how far the DCS had gone in regard to the JICS. He commended the DCS on its unqualified audit opinion. In relation to the increase in the vacancy rate at the DCS, Mr Bongo noted that some individuals working within the DCS were employed in terms of the Public Service Act of 1994, while others were employed in terms of the Correctional Services Act of 1998. He wondered how the Department had dealt with the inconsistencies of both Acts? Considering the infrastructure, including farms, owned by the DCS, Mr Bongo asked whether any of the produce is currently being retained by DCS? He commented that in relation to the diminishing funding for the Department, the DCS needs to find a progressive way of utilising existing infrastructure, including possibly selling land. He also asked if the DCS had reached any service level agreement with the DPW?
The Acting Chairperson asked what progress had been made with implementing the electronic monitoring system. Recent intelligence suggested that one inmate had made around 31 000 telephone calls from one correctional centre and asked if DCS had made any progress in being able to detect cellphones? She expressed concern about the projected staff reductions at the DCS, considering the structural economic challenges - including high levels of unemployment – faced by South Africa more broadly. She requested clarity from the Chief Financial Officer on figures relating to compensation of employees and compliance with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) of 1999. She noted that the figure provided for payment of capital assets does not pertain to the 21 farms and 96 small sites, nor the equipment needed to operate these facilities. She asked how the inflated water and electricity bills incurred by correctional facilities can be reduced?
The Acting Chairperson stated that she agreed with Mr Matiase on the sharing of useful information with other departments, such as the SAPS. She asked how the number of foreign nationals in South African correctional facilities could be reduced, considering these inmates are effectively overloading the correctional system.
Mr Modise admitted that the conditions at Pollsmoor were similar to those at other facilities around the country, but assured the Committee that the DCS is looking into ways to reduce conditions of overcrowding, in conjunction with JCPS Cluster partners – including the Office of the Chief Justice. The National Efficiency Enhancement Committee (NEEC) received regular reports from the DCS on overcrowding levels at correctional facilities. Following the court judgment, the Public Service Commission had conducted an audit on all of the “big five” facilities around the country, including analysis of information pertaining to offender-official ratios, the state of existing infrastructure, and the adequacy of the budget.
Mr Modise stressed the importance of interaction and collaboration with National Treasury, the JCPS cluster, the DPW and other relevant departments, to overcome the challenge of overcrowding, as it was pertinent to all institutions. Mr Modise noted that he had met with the Director-Generals of these institutions as well as Cabinet members to discuss staff, budgetary and infrastructure issues. He assured the Committee of the DCS commitment to reducing overcrowding countrywide. At Pollsmoor facility,capacity was at around 161% at the end of April 2017, and the DCS aims to reduce this figure to 150% by the end of May 2017. DCS must remain compliant with the Constitution and Correctional Services Act to ensure offenders are incarcerated under humane conditions.
Speaking to the projected reduction in the number of DCS employees, Mr Modise stated that the budget baseline had been cut, resulting in some positions no longer being funded. The conclusion of the second phase of the Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) was “a thorn in our flesh”, but that there were some positives in that staff resignations during the current financial year would allow for more hiring. He noted that the DCS had recently absorbed 2 017, reducing the Department’s vacancy rate to 7.4% at the end of the previous financial year.
Mr Modise admitted there were initial challenges in the relationship with the DPW, but that the situation was continuously improving through consultation between the National Commissioner, Director-General of the DPW, and the National Treasury. DCS was considering all cost models for improving infrastructure, including PPPs. He noted that the Makhado facility in Limpopo and the Manguang facility in Bloemfontein were in fact privately constructed, with government taking ownership after ten years. This period had now elapsed for both facilities, as the Manguang contract began on 1 March 2001, while the Makhado contract began on the 1 July 2002. At the end of a ten-year period, government takes ownership of the respective facilities and is responsible for the operation and maintenance of these facilities. He noted that the DCS had taken ownership of the Manguang facility, and awaited the audit outcome in order to ascertain the maintenance requirements.
Mr Modise stated that the DCS’s relationship with the DPW was enhanced by the participation and involvement of executives overseeing both Departments. He made reference to the Minister’s speech in 2016, which stressed the need to build accommodation and expand capacity. To this extent, he requested that the DCS acquire capable people to create a unit in the DCS Head Office specifically concerned with maintenance and building infrastructure. Provincial officials mandated by this unit oversee the quantity surveying, construction and maintenance needs of all projects in the region, working closely with the DPW. The National Commissioner was then given feedback on the projects.
Mr Modise highlighted the importance of distinguishing the cost of building and the cost to procure facilities through a PPP. He noted that the Tswelopele correctional facility in Kimberley was government-built with two PPPs. However, on completion of the building, the DCS realised that more than double the R362 million estimate had been spent, in part because construction began in 2010, when steel and cement were expensive. The DCS had learned from the mistakes of this project, and in future, when deciding to build, would utilise the best method.
In relation to questions around the Judicial Inspectorate and civil society, Mr Modise noted that further enhancing the independence of JICS may require a legislative amendment to the Correctional Services Act. The prospect of legislating JICS as a stand-alone entity had been discussed with the President. If this materialised, JICS would have its own budget and function much the same as any other independent statutory institution.
Addressing Mr Horn’s concern on the DCS’s inability to create sufficient bed spaces, Mr Modise expressed his frustration at the inability of service providers and construction companies to deliver on time, among other problems. These issues were experienced in the Brandvlei, Ceres, and Van Rhynsdorp projects in particular. The only project currently performing on time was the Standerton site in Mpumalanga, where Phase 1 has recently been completed and government would take ownership of this facility soon.
Mr Modise noted that CC farms were an effective way of utilising offender labour. These inmates do not receive a salary, but a gratuity, but the emphasis is primarily on skills development. Despite the drought, these prison farms were performing well, compared to many ordinary, privately-owned farms. Currently, he noted, the revenue received from the agricultural produce goes to the National Treasury, but DCS is at an advanced stage of discussion with the National Treasury to retain income generated in order to address funding shortfalls. He noted the importance of these projects as an outlet for offenders to have working opportunities and develop skills. Along with the farms, several factories are operated by inmates. Mr Modise stated that at some facilities, the Department provides pre-cut materials, which inmates then sew to manufacture uniforms, towels and shoes. Inmates can become accredited in these skills, enhancing their prospects for employment later.
Responding to the Minister’s question about an inmate reportedly making 31 000 calls from a correctional facility, Mr Modise informed the committee that the offender was currently awaiting trial, and had caused a considerable amount of trouble for the DCS and criminal justice system more generally. He had since been removed from this environment, and the DCS have considered installing cellphone detection technology in all facilities. Mr Modise assured the Committee that he would provide more information in this regard when it becomes available.
Mr E Khoza, Deputy-Commissioner: Human Resources, DCS, addressed questions raised about the late payment of JICS officials. He stated that these officials were contract employees with independent procedures rather than fixed-contract employees, where salaries are paid automatically. The issue of late payments had since been addressed through the creation of permanent positions within JICS.
The Deputy Minister noted the dichotomy between employees employed under the Public Service Act and those employed under the Correctional Services Act.
Mr Khoza continued that employees under the Public Service Act worked primarily in administration, and mostly in head office. Within management and core business, most employees serve under the Correctional Services Act. To resolve this inconsistency, the DCS is in the process of reviewing the focus of legislation.
Mr Ligege stated the projected revenue figure was around R132.3 million. DCS and the National Treasury are currently looking into a revenue-splitting formula between the fiscus and the Department for these funds. He assured the Committee that DCS was complying with National Treasury’s cost-containment measures, noting that the Department has slowed down expenditure on goods and services based on this directive. DCS seeks to negotiate tenders and avoid the repetitive quotation basis which is often much more expensive, as well as considering long-term contracts at reduced rates. Mr Ligege noted that in the previous financial year, the DCS did not inflict virements for compensation of employees, despite considerable legal fees, but chose instead to slow down expenditure on goods and services to account for these costs. Each specific DCS programme has its own budget for the payment of capital assets, so that the rehabilitation programme, with responsibility for the prison farms and workshops, has the responsibility to provide equipment and other capital assets to these structures from the budget allocated.
Mr James Smalberger, Deputy-Commissioner: Incarceration and Corrections, DCS, provided clarity on the number of current inmates from SADC countries. The figure for the current financial year was not 30 000, as Mr Selfe suggested, but 9 242, virtually unchanged from the previous year. He noted that the DCS had operational targets for all farm products; in the previous financial year the targets were 7.3 million kilograms of vegetables, 500 000 kilograms of fruit, 5 million litres of milk, 390 000 kilograms of red meat, 2 million kilograms of pork, 4 million kilograms of chicken, and 1.3 million dozen eggs. The farms afforded the DCS considerable self-sufficiency, as well as reduced expenditure.
Mr Matiase stated that he was impressed with the information provided by Mr Smalberger. He requested that he quantify this information in monetary terms in a follow-up presentation, indicating how they were contributing to cutting out middle-man expenses, including ‘tenderpreneurs’.
Mr Selfe requested further clarity on employee remuneration. He stated that compensation was rising by 7% per year, while the number of employees was projected to decline.
Mr Ligege stated that an increase in the budget for compensation of employees was necessary, to address the backlog of payments attributable to OSD, as well as to adjust salaries for inflation. These backlog payments would rise in the next three years, compounded by effective R200 million budget cuts each year.
Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services on the Annual Performance Plan and Budget
Deputy Minister Makwetla introduced the presentation by highlighting the critical role of JICS in providing support to inmates when the functioning of the Department failed. Its independence ensures better management of the DCS, through dedicated inspectors, spread equally across South Africa.
He expressed his dissatisfaction that the JICS document had not been made available to the Committee, nor were the JICS delegates present at the start of the meeting, and said that the Ministry believed that JICS was being improperly managed. Although some information was given in the administration section of the DCS’s presentation, it was not a comprehensive outline of JICS plans for the current financial year, and he would like to see JICS’s plans for the year being rather presented as an addendum to the DCS’s plans, as a more effective practice.
The Acting Chairperson agreed that although certain information on JICS had featured in the DCS presentation,it was not comprehensive, and the Committee wishes to see it functioning properly as well as considering its financial implications.
Mr Matiase noted that the JICS delegates had arrived late and had not provided documents and the Acting Chairperson also added her concern about the lack of documentation.
Mr M Masondo, Acting Chief Executive Officer, JICS, stated that this information was covered in the Department’s presentation.
Mr Makwetla repeated that the current practice was not ideal for the Committee. He requested that the Acting CEO provide him with details of all the various classifications of spending that JICS had incurred, as the information provided in the DCS presentation had been insufficient.
The Acting Chairperson highlighted that the Committee had previously strongly advocated for the independence of JICS, but stated that JICS was perhaps not yet an independent entity. She too requested that the JICS delegates make the relevant financial and strategic information available to the committee.
The meeting was adjourned.