The Department of Correctional Services and the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services briefed the Committee on their respective Annual Performance Plans and Budgets. Both
the Department of Correctional Services and the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services reported that their Annual Performance Plans had been developed within the context of persistently low economic growth and they are trying to do more with less. The correctional centres are overcrowded and this affects the maintenance of the infrastructures and the safety of the inmates. The Department reported that personnel are also affected by the situation and could not deliver services adequately.
The Committee heard that the Department’s strategic plans were in line with the National Development Plan’s 2030 vision committing to mitigating efforts against HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis. Their irregular expenditure was due non-compliance with Supply Chain Management and procurement policies, which was the responsibility of the Independent Development Trust (IDT), which was appointed by the Department to procure and project manage the security fencing programme. The case is currently being investigated by the Special Investigative Unit (SIU).
The Global Fund has withdrawn its donor assistance to the Department – this has resulted in the Department reviewing its performance targets across the MTEF for the 2019/20 financial year. There are budget cuts in the amount of R3.16 billion to the compensation of employees. Further budget cuts are for goods and services, transportation and medical treatment.
A huge bulk of the Department’s budget goes towards the Incarceration Programme, which made provision for a funded Persal head count of 27 139 posts in 2019/20 financial year. Other programmes that require a bulk of the budget are property payments; public-private partnership initiatives and the hiring of equipment such as printing machines. The average growth rate of the Administration programme from the 2018/19 adjusted appropriation to 2021/22 is 7.3%. The Rehabilitation programme made provision for a funded Persal head count of 2140 posts in the 2019/20 financial year. It has received R6 408 billion over the medium term with an average growth of the programme from the 2018/19 adjusted budget to 2021/22 is 7.8%.
The Committee commended the Department for terminating all their contracts with Bosasa. The Department recommended to the Committee that it does oversight of the correctional centres to understand the severity of the impact the budget cuts have on service delivery. The Committee noted that there was a need for regular oversight of the Department and the centres.
The Committee posed the following critical questions to the Department: which areas of expertise of the NDP is the Department focused on developing; is the Department achieving its targets for skills development; Does their procurement policy make provision for the use of internal products/services before outsourcing services; do the trainees get first preference for job vacancies; what the cause of the litigations was and what is the Department’s involvement in this; Is the litigation related to the pending Bosasa legal case; how does the Department measure their participation against their targets; why has the employee social benefits increased from R5.5 million in 2018/19 financial year to R18.6 million in the 2018/19 financial year; what lead to the SIU electronic monitoring litigation and how was the contract awarded to the company and IDT; what measures are used to encourage inmates to do voluntary testing for HIV/AIDS; asked for an update report on the Bosasa litigation cases; how many of the offenders who are waiting to be tried will be tagged using the electronic tags during the 2019/20 financial year; how far is the Department with the construction of the half-way houses; are there any remedial plans to make the correctional centres more conducive to rehabilitation interventions; what is the Department’s vacancy rate and when were they going to employ a project manager; what is the process of sourcing the half-way houses for the wardens; what measures has the Department taken to ensure that inmates receive healthy meals, taking into consideration that they would be preparing their own meals since the Bosasa contract has been terminated; why is there a reduction of employees; why was there a significant increase in the employee benefits pay out; if the Social Reintegration Programme is an ongoing initiative or was it still to be implemented; were there any plans for collaborating with the Department of Small Business Development to develop the skills capacity in the Department; with regard to irregular expenditure, was there a signed MoU between the Department and the faith based organisations; for the names of the farms owned by the Department; what is the status of the plans to provide 3000 beds in Macassar and Khayelitsha; Is there a direct link between the increased crime levels and the overcrowding in the correctional centres and what informs the decision to only roll out 50 out of 461 Integrated Inmate Management System (IIMS’s) in the country.
The Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services reported that had a budget of R72 million for the previous 2018/19 financial year, of which 93% of the budget had already been spent. The JICS has always been performing 81 inspections out of the 243 centres, which meant that it was 33% of its performance. During the 2019/20 financial year JICS was able to improve on its inspections and it conducted 136 out of the 243, which is 60% of its target.
The Committee heard that the JICS consulted extensively with the former Ministers of the DCS and DPSA in developing and drafting the JICS’s Business Case to become fully independent. On 8 March 2019 the former Minister and stakeholders consulted each other to build the Business Case for the JICS which covered funding and budgeting. Members were happy with the report as it would help the Committee understand its role. If the JICS’ mandate was not made clear, then the Committee will have to move for the disbandment of the JICS.
The Chairperson welcomed the delegation from the Department. He congratulated the Deputy Minister on his appointment and said that he and the Committee will be working together for the next five years. He asked for formal introductions to be made by the Committee and officials of the Department.
Briefing by Department of Correctional Services
Inkosi Patekile Holomisa, Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, said that since the dawn of democracy the Department has ushered in vibrant reforms which shaped the country’s correctional system to successfully converge with the five dimensions of a constitutional democracy where legitimacy, transparency and the rule of law are supreme. The challenge of overcrowding in the correctional centres continues to undermine the creation and maintenance of a safe and secure environment for inmates and personnel at the coalface of service delivery. While the Department has adopted an eight-pronged strategy for the management of overcrowding, the contributing factors to overcrowding are beyond the control of the Department. Therefore, overcrowding remains the reality as the Department cannot refuse to detain inmates.
The Department continues to face challenges regarding offenders who are serving life sentences not fully participating in skills development sessions that are used to assist offenders in their rehabilitation process. The Department continues to work with ‘lifers’ and other offenders to ensure successful rehabilitation is attained through attendance and participation in requisite programmes and sessions. The National Development Plan 2030 (NDP) envisages a health system that is accessible to all. In line with the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), the Department commits to intensify mitigating efforts against HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections.
Working together with communities, traditional leaders and businesses, the Department needs to embrace reintegration initiatives that support parolees and probationers to re-join communities without reverting to their old ways. The APP (Annual Performance Plan) has been developed within the context of persistently low economic growth in South Africa through the principle of doing more with less.
During the 2017/18 financial year the Department incurred an irregular expenditure of R1.897 billion. The contributing factors to this were the procurement of high security fences at various correctional centres, which amounted to R1.724 billion. The irregular expenditure was a result of a lack of compliance to the supply chain management procedures, which was the responsibility of the Independent Development Trust (IDT). The IDT was appointed by the Department to procure and project manage the security fencing programme. The security fencing programme is currently the subject of investigation by the Special Investigative Unit (SIU). The Department has thus put in place measures to ensure that procurement and supply chain management procedures are adhered to, these include the training of supply chain management officers and the appointment of a procurement committee.
Mr Joseph Katenga, Chief Deputy Commissioner: Strategic Management, said that faith based organisations play a role in the rehabilitation process of offenders, hence the Department has signed various Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the aim to improve spiritual care services to offenders. Partnerships have been developed with the Department of Higher Education, Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) and the National Skills Fund (NSF). The four infrastructure projects aimed at creating additional bed spaces through upgrading and construction of new facilities that have faced challenges in the past will be completed by the end of 2019/20 financial year.
The withdrawal of funds by key stakeholders such as Global Fund has resulted in the review of the performance targets on ART indicator from 98% to 90% across the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period (2019/20 to 2021/22). The reduced funded establishment numbers in line with the Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) ceiling for each financial year will have implications for the business and governance of the department in realising its strategic goals and also in terms of the availability of human resources to ensure compliance to applicable legislation.
The 2019 MTEF budget baselines were reduced following a decision by Cabinet. These reductions were effected against compensation of employees. The revised allocations for 2019/20 MTEF are R25 408 billion for 2019/20, R27 177 billion for 2020/21 and R28 963 billion for 2021/22. The department will be able to manage the baseline reduction through the recovery of medical deductions in terms of GEMS audit as well as through natural attrition until the outer year where there are no baseline reductions. The total compensation of employees baseline cuts from 2015/16 financial year to 2020/21 is R3,15 billion. The Department previously had a funded post establishment of 42 006 posts, but since the baseline cuts the posts will be reduced to 39 191 over the 2019 MTEF. There are challenges with governance and compliance since there has been a limited number of employees available to do the work, particularly due to unfunded posts in the administration programme.
The Goods and Services budget is not sufficient to cater for the Department’s needs and commitments. The major impact is on fleet services, which is mainly used for the transportation of sentenced offenders to courts and to hospitals for medical treatment as well as for the monitoring of parolees. The other impact is on food items for inmates and municipal services.
Mr Nicodemus Ligege, Chief Financial Officer, DCS, said the amounts of R18 214 billion in 2019/20, R19 594 billion in 2020/21 and R20 947 billion in 2021/22 provide the total allocation towards the payment of compensation of employees. Funds earmarked for the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services amount to R77,2 million in 2019/20, R81.5 million in 2020/21 and R86 million in 2121/22. The bulk of the spending of the budget goes towards the Incarceration Programme; agency and support services for public-private partnership correctional centres; inventory of food and consumable supplies; property payments; infrastructure spending and equipment and hiring of photo copy machines.
Budget allocations per Programme
Mr Katenga said the Administration Programme made provision for a funded Persal head count of 6184 posts in the 2019/20 financial year. Over the medium term the programme is expected to spend R15 314 billion, which is 18.7% of the total vote allocation. The average growth rate of the administration programme from the 2018/19 adjusted appropriation to 2021/22 is 7.3%. The incarceration programme provides for services that support safe and secure conditions of detention consistent with maintaining the human dignity of inmates. The programme made provision for a funded Persal head count of 27 139 posts in 2019/20 financial year. The programme also comprises the bulk of the department’s spending of R48.7 billion over the medium term. The average growth rate of the programme from the 2018/19 adjusted budget to 2021/22 is 6.5%, whereas average spending as a percentage of the total budget declined from 61.20% in the previous Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) to 59.8%.
The rehabilitation programme made provision for a funded Persal head count of 2140 posts in the 2019/20 financial year. The programme has received R6 408 billion over the medium term of which 75.3% of the budget is allocated to salaries who provide the rehabilitation programmes. The average growth of the programme from the 2018/19 adjusted budget o 2021/22 is 7.8%. The department plans to maintain percentage of sentenced offenders subjected to correctional programmes at 80%. The care programme has been allocated with R7.8 billion which the bulk of the budget goes to goods and services for catering and health services.
Mr Katenga said the percentage of inmates who escape from correctional centres is targeted to not exceed 0.034% in 2019/20 financial year. The number of bed spaces created through construction is targeted at 435 for the Tzaneen area. The percentage of remand detention in Remand Detention Facilities subjected to Continuous Risk Assessment is targeted at 60% for the financial year, which is 27 704 out of the total of 44 508. The percentages of offender’s profiles submitted by the Case Management Committees is estimated at 92% in the 2019/20 financial year and 93% for the 2021/22 financial year.
Mr X Nqola (ANC) asked which areas of expertise of the NDP is the Department focused on developing and is the Department achieving its targets for skills development. Does their procurement policy make provision for the use of internal products/services before outsourcing services, and do the trainees get first preference for job vacancies? He enquired further whether the Department has implemented the President’s call to do away with work experience as a requirement for entry level job applications. Given the current demands does the Department believe it needs a budget increase in order to meet its targets? What were their expenditure performance results and did the Department spend its entire budget?
Mr J Selfe (DA) said the SIU investigations into the electronic monitoring project management services and security fencing have been going on since April 2016. The investigations have racked up huge amounts of money. The electronic monitoring investigation has already racked up R365 million. He asked what the cause of the litigations was and what the Department’s involvement is. Is the litigation related to the pending Bosasa legal case? There are 166 500 inmates but only 780 inmates participated in the skills development programmes. How does the Department measure their participation against their targets?
Adv T Mulaudzi (EFF) asked why has the employee social benefits increased from R5.5 million in 2018/19 financial year to R18.6 million in the 2018/19 financial year. What lead to the SIU electronic monitoring litigation and how was the contract awarded to the company and IDT? The report of the litigation indicated that the investigation would be finalised in June 2019. What measures are used to encourage inmates to do voluntary testing for HIV/AIDS. The Department’s challenges and the decrease of their budget are caused by corruption. He asked for an update report on the Bosasa litigation cases. How many of the offenders who are waiting to be tried will be tagged using the electronic tags during the 2019/20 financial year? How far is the Department with the construction of the half-way houses? Are there any remedial plans to make the correctional centres conducive for rehabilitation interventions? The Department’s biggest challenge is the decrease in their budget, which is unfortunate because the decrease in the salaries of the employees will be a major loss because it will lose skilled employees in the process. The Department had to underspend on certain programmes to supplement the earmarked amount. The percentage of inmates who escape from correctional centres and those who incur injuries as a result of reported assaults should be reduced. He commended the Department for terminating all their contracts with Bosasa.
Mr W Horn (DA) said the infrastructure delivery project target has failed due to the overcrowding in the correctional centres yet a lot of money has gone into the project. He asked what is the Department’s vacancy rate and when are they going to employ a project manager. What is the process of sourcing the half-way houses for the wardens? What measures has the Department taken to ensure that inmates receive healthy meals, taking into consideration that they would be preparing their own meals since the Bosasa contract has been terminated. The Auditor-General is dissatisfied with the way the lack of uniformity the Department reported on the inmates’ statistics.
Mr S Swart (ACDP) said that the Committee understands the budget cuts, however it is unfair because the Department will not be in the position to function. He recommended to the Committee that it does oversight of the correctional centres to understand the severity of the impact the budget cuts have on service delivery. All government officials should make use of the furniture produced by the Department as a measure to save costs, and the money should go directly to the Department and not the fiscus. The reports of the SIU on the investigations should be submitted to the Committee. Why is there a reduction of employees? There should be an improvement in the number of offenders who participate in restorative justice programmes. There should be better record keeping of the number of inmates who escaped from the centres and those who are injured.
Adv H Mohamed (ANC) asked for the reason for the decrease in the machinery equipment in the rehabilitation programmes. There is a need for regular oversight of the Department and the centres. Why is there a significant increase in the employee benefits pay out? The Minister mentioned that there is a huge risk to the HIV/AIDS donor programme, he asked how this affected the Care Sub-Programme.
Ms N Maseko-Jele (ANC) asked if the Social Reintegration Programme is an ongoing initiative or was it still to be implemented. There is a perception that inmates live luxuriously inside the correctional centres and communities are not forthcoming with accepting offenders back into the community. The presentation makes no mention of the conditions of women living in the correctional centres. Are there any plans of collaborating with the Department of Small Business Development to develop the skills capacity in the Department?
Mr Q Dyantyi (ANC) said the matter of the irregular expenditure has become a reoccurrence in the Department as there does not seem to be a plan to mitigate the irregular expenditure. Is there is a signed MoU between the Department and the faith based organisations? Maintenance should be the Department’s priority. He asked for the names of the farms owned by the Department. What is the status of the plans to provide 3000 beds in Macassar and Khayelitsha? Is there a direct link between the increased crime levels and the overcrowding in the correctional centres and what informs the decision to only roll out 50 out of 461 IIMS’s in the country?
Mr Arthur Fraser, National Commissioner: DCS, requested that the Department also provides the Committee with written responses for questions that they are unable to give clarity on.
Mr Katenga replied saying the Department is working with reputable faith based organisations and they have signed MoU’s with all the organisations. The increase in the crime levels gives the indication that the Department is not being effective in proving a safe environment for the public. All the bed spaces infrastructure projects are currently in the design phase and will be implemented during the course of the current financial year. The target for the number of bed spaces created through the construction of new facilities was 2500 at the beginning of the 2014/15 financial year but the target downsized to 435 in the current year. The reduction is due to the cutting of the capital works budget. The correctional centres are overcrowded by 37% and the centres are under staffed thus making it easier for inmates to escape. Until the Department has dealt with the overcrowding and staff complement it should be expected that there will be more attempts at escaping.
A number of the correctional centres were built during a time when rehabilitation programmes were not a priority; hence the centres are not conducive for rehabilitation activities. However, the Department has adopted a new infrastructure plan to build centres that cater for rehabilitation programmes. There are four half-way houses in the different provinces; the Gauteng half-way houses were opened in December 2018. The electronic tagging project of inmates was discontinued.
Mr Ligege replied saying that the increase in the employee benefits is due to the changes of the age of retirement for correctional services employees who reside in the former Transkei. In the 2015/16 financial year the Department held back payments to the municipality for water and electricity because they did not have the budget. A budget increase would definitely assist the Department with maintenance. The Department has put measures in place in procurement and Supply Chain Management (SCM) policies to prevent corruption, the adjudication panel has appointed a committee to oversee the process of procurement and there is training of officials.
Adv Patrick Mashimbini, Chief Deputy Commissioner: Human Resources, replied saying that the Department has no plans to retrench any of its employees. The Department is still aligning the funded post establishment on the persal system to that of the affordable post-establishment levels indicated in the Human Resources Budgeting Plan. The only requirement that the Department has is that learners at least have a Matric certificate to be placed on their learnership programmes. The learners undergo a training programme for six months. All the appointees are sourced firstly from the Department’s database before they were outsourced.
Ms Vuyi Mlomo-Ndlovu, Acting Chief Deputy Commissioner: Remand Detention, replied saying that the average professional skills vacancy rate is 5.9%. The challenge is that nurses, doctors and pharmacists are at a high demand and the majority prefer to work for the private sector. The offenders undergo occupational skills, vocational and entrepreneurial skills training. There is a policy that allows for the Department to sell its goods to other departments and the agricultural products are used to feed the offenders. Partnerships have been formed with the Department of Health who assists them with assigning nurses to the correctional centres to conduct HIV testing. When Bosasa was supplying the Department with meals it was obligated to follow the Department’s prescribed dietary guidelines, and the Department still follows the same dietary requirements. The business development organisations also provide the Department with training for the inmates; when the inmates are released the organisations often hire them. There are also programmes for women. The report on the occupational skills, vocational and entrepreneurial skills training programme will be submitted to the Committee in writing.
Ms Nthabiseng Mosupye, Chief Deputy Commissioner: Information Technical Officer replied saying that the roll out of the IIMS depends on the availability of funding, the internal capacity and capability and the suitability of the infrastructure.
Ms Maria Mabena, Acting Chief Deputy Commissioner: Incarceration and Corrections, replied saying that the Department has partnered with registered Non-profit organisations and advertisements are placed when they are in need of half-way houses, followed by compliance to the procurement processes. All the NPOs that work with the Department must comply with the procurement requirements. All NPOs should ensure that they can provide the tender. The Department received R11 million that allowed them to appoint 66 auxiliary social workers. The parolees are engaged in activities like cleaning schools during school holidays. Over the years communities have begun to understand that they too have a role to play in the rehabilitation of parolees. The different community activities and interventions have assisted the Department to bridge the gap between members of the community and the parolees.
Mr Mandla Mkabela, Chief Operations Commissioner, replied saying that the incidences involving inmates who try to escape happen during the busy hours and during the times when the inmates are being transported to courts or playgrounds.
Mr Katenga mentioned that the Department has maintenance sections at their management centres and the centres are managed by skilled artisans. The offenders attend the accredited workshops to be trained in the different skills. Once they have completed the courses they are trained for they are sent to Olifantsfontein Prison Trade Test for certificates.
Mr Fraser mentioned that it would be appropriate for the SIU to report on the litigation matters itself to the Committee. There is a concern that when the SIU conducts an investigation the contracts have to be terminated and the Department cannot appoint another company but has to wait for after the investigation has been concluded. This impacted on the Department’s ability to perform its duties. The tagging of parolees and inmates has also been halted by the investigations by the SIU. There are no active contracts between the Department and Bosasa.
Briefing by the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services
Justice Johann van der Westhuizen, Inspecting Judge, JICS, said that the JICS has been allocated with a budget of R77 244 million for the 2019/20 financial year. They had a budget of R72 million for the previous financial year, of which 93% of the budget has already been spent. JICS has always been performing 81 inspections out of the 243 centres, which is 33% of its performance. During the 2019/20 financial year JICS was able to improve on its inspections and it conducted 136 out of the 243, which is 60% of its target. There is a pending litigation at the Western Cape High Court on the independence of JICS; the cited respondents on the litigation are the President, the Minister, the National Commissioner, Inspecting Judge, the Minister of Finance and the Minster of the Department of Public Service and Administration.
The JICS consulted extensively with the former Ministers of the DCS and DPSA in developing and drafting its business case to become independent. On 8 March 2019, the former Minister and stakeholders consulted each other to build a Business Case for the JICS. Funding and budgeting has also been covered in the Business Case. The Independent Correctional Centre Programme (IDCP) is contained in Chapters 9 and 10 of the Correctional Services Act. The IDCP helped establish the JICS’S existence, however the programme has become outdated as it is not aligned to the prescripts of the DPSA.
Mr Dyantyi said the Department should submit a comprehensive report to the Committee.
Adv Mulaudzi said he does not understand the JICS’s role; he hopes that the report will help the Committee understand its role. If the JICS’ mandate is not made clear, then the Committee will have to move for the disbandment of the JICS.
Mr Holomisa said the issue of gangsterism in the correctional centres is still difficult to manage. The Department also wants to improve on its information technology system so that more officials can have access to Wi-Fi connections.
The Chairperson said government is in R3 trillion debt. The Department should also deal with overcrowding at its centres because this affects other areas such as maintenance, safe environment and rehabilitation programmes. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us and the Department should be well-informed about any new developments. The Committee will be conducting oversight over the issues addressed by the Deputy Minister.
The meeting was adjourned.
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