JICS on its vision & revised Business Operational Plan/Model: Subcommittee on Correctional Services

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Justice and Correctional Services

28 February 2020
Chairperson: Mr Q Dyantyi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The dependence of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) on the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) for its budget, administration and operations was of concern to the Members of the Committee and the JICS officials. A business case had been presented to the Minister that proposed an operational model to initiate the process of creating JICS as an independent and accountable government component.

There was acknowledgement by the Committee that JICS was viewed as the stepchild of South Africa’s democracy. The gap in the communication process between the Committee and JICS had contributed to this negative perception of the entity. The Committee was disappointed that the business case had not been presented to its Members.

Alarmed was expressed at the spike in the number of deaths at correctional centres. Seven deaths had been reported over the last seven months, four of them in February.

The state of Correctional Services was compared to that of “an ugly beast” that had become increasingly difficult to manage. Despite the punitive measures that were being implemented, the crime rate had increased. The view was expressed that the problem could be remedied with focus and support from all sections of society.

The collapse in the Department’s mandatory reporting function was of concern to the Committee. It formed an integral part of the warning system that alerted officials to human rights violations in the prisons. Over the years, huge amounts had been spent on information technology (IT) infrastructure, but to date, the management information system (MIS) was still not functioning.

The Correctional Services Act (CSA) of 1998 was due for amendment. The National Commissioner was considering the establishment of a task team to review the entire Act.

Meeting report

Introductory comments

The Chairperson welcomed everybody to the second meeting of the Sub-committee of the Correctional Services Portfolio Committee. The focus of the meeting would be entirely on the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS), to create a basis for the work to be done. Judge Edwin Cameron, the Inspecting Judge (IJ), had participated in the strategic session (Bosberaad), but the Chairperson felt that he should be formally welcomed to the first meeting since he took over the work of the JICS. He acknowledged that it was a thankless job and that the Committee was looking forward to working with the IJ to attend to the challenges in this area.

He expressed his gratitude for the presentation that had been received in good time. He said that the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) had become the stepchild because of many of the things that had happened in the past. The Committee was trying to learn from past mistakes and not repeat them. He announced that Fridays will be known as “Correctional Services Friday.” This meant that the Committee would either meet at Parliament with officials, or do oversight of the Department, the centres or the JICS.

Ms J Mofokeng (ANC) said she welcomed the Friday meetings, but she would not be able attend every week as it clashed with the Joint Intelligence Committee meetings.

The Chairperson said that based on the strategic plan, a conclusion had been made that when a meeting was called, presentations should be received well in advance. The idea was to do away with two-hour presentations that left no time to hold officials accountable, and allowed very little time for Members to engage with the presentation. This would not apply in this first meeting with JICS, but it would apply in the following meetings.

Judge Cameron congratulated the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services for constituting this as a sub-committee, and said it was correct to emphasise its importance. He was grateful for the acknowledgement by the Committee that JICS was viewed as the stepchild in many ways, and added that it also had become the stepchild of the country’s democracy over the past 26 years. JICS viewed themselves as in partnership with the accountability to Parliament. He had received some indications from Members about complaints and input on warning signs. He welcomed this, as it helped JICS to action them quickly. Together with the subcommittee and the department, JICS wanted to find solutions.

The IJ made an important observation about the state of Correctional Services, which he referred to as a beast that had become one of the ugly children of SA’s democracy. Members of the Committee, JICS and members of the public, were all to blame for creating this beast. There were fundamental errors in the criminal justice system, and solutions to bring crime down had been misconceived, which was a big crime in itself. Despite the hard and punitive measures that were implemented, crime continued to increase. The call for urgency and a commitment to public safety and security, made it necessary for everyone to find solutions together. Since everyone was a progenitor of this ugly beast, blame was not assigned to Correctional Services personnel. He did not point a finger at Correctional Services personnel for overcrowding, lack of mattresses and lack of warm water in any of his reports written over the past 11 years. He would have wanted Correctional Services personnel to hear this from him, as he was under the impression that they would be present in this meeting. These were systemic issues that could be remedied. If the will, determination and practical solutions were present, there was nothing that could not be fixed.

He relayed a personal story about the fear of being wiped out by AIDS, because South Africa was a third world country and did not have the anti-retroviral medication. The fact that there had been a focus, activists, Parliamentary oversight and eventually government commitment, had resulted in the implementation of the biggest anti-retroviral programme. He was desperately worried about Correctional Services, but reiterated that there was nothing that was not soluble. The two parts of the presentation -- how worried he was, and solutions to the problem -- were aligned.

He was grateful for the strong executive support for the proposed operational model. The meeting with the Minister earlier during the week had gone favourably. The operational model would help JICS and DCS to function better, make the correctional systems function better, and would therefore have an ultimate impact on public welfare.

JICS vision and revised business operational model

Justice Cameron said that there were two objectives -- to alert the Committee to major problems, and to present the operational model.

He alerted the Committee to the disturbing trend in the occurrence of deaths at various centres. In 2017/18, there had not been a single death reported at the hands of Correctional Services personnel. In 2018/19, one single death had been reported, but in February 2020, there was a sudden spike, with four very disturbing deaths reported. He felt that every death due to unnatural causes was a disturbance to the Constitution and their values. It was a sign that something was not right and that each death was a warning light.

He reported on problems of shortages of staff and time, as well as resistance from Departmental officials when cases needed to be investigated. JICS had been compelled to complete investigations without willing witnesses, who seemed to disappear just before the JICS official arrived. JICS were being obstructed and frustrated in performing statutory duties through useless time, wastage of petrol and misapplication of energy. On occasion, explicit instructions from heads of centres had resulted in officials not cooperating. The story behind this was that a dangerous beast had been created that was difficult to manage. Prisons were overcrowded, with frustrated officials walking with fear in many centres. The IJ was not blaming officials, and said that the vicious circle of assault and reprisals could be undone. It appeared that if an official was stabbed, the inmate got beaten up, and it could only get worse. A way had to be found to break the cycle of vengeance.

Another problem flagged by Judge Cameron was the reporting system. There was a clear statute enacted in 1998, 22 years ago, which some of the members of this Committee were part of. It required a system for the reporting of the four major categories of incidents, for two reasons. Firstly, the mandate of JICS was to oversee Correctional Services, and ensure that it was in accordance with constitutional values. Secondly, it had to function as a warning system. When something went wrong, JICS had to know about it. When the 220 prison visitors who know the prisons, the inmates and the officials reported about incidents that happened, then JICS knew something was wrong, and sometimes knew more than the officials on the ground in a particular centre. The mandatory reporting by DCS was an integral part of the warning system and also part of the human rights oversight function.

There had been a disquieting collapse in mandatory reporting. This had been reported at the Bosberaad in Stellenbosch three and a half weeks ago, Part of the reason was the non-functioning of the management information system (MIS) of JICS, which had been reported since 2015. Huge amounts had been spent on information technology (IT), but it had never worked. A new system that would enable DCS officials to update information in real time had been implemented by a senior executive, the Deputy Commissioner. The IJ expressed the hope that the Committee would support the operating model that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) would present.

Mr Vickash Misser, Chief Executive Officer (CEO): JICS, said he would like to follow a different approach by highlighting the problems. These had been packaged in the business case and presented to the Minister earlier during the week. This was the first official engagement between the Minister and Judge Cameron. The Minister now understood how JICS was viewed in terms of the operational model. He had agreed in principle to sign off on the business case, which meant that it was not approved but had been sent to the Department of Public Services and Administration (DPSA). The Minister would constitute an advisory committee to take the proposal forward, to evaluate the submission, and inform the Minister of how it should appear.

He explained that JICS should align itself to independently manage its business going forward. JICS was dependent on the Department for funding. This gave rise to stakeholders questioning the independence of JICS, considering that its financials were buried in the DCS, and JICS was also operating on the DCS domain.

The CEO stated that the statutory foundations of JICS were enshrined in the Bill of Rights. The starting point was the right to life and human dignity. Statutory obligations emanated explicitly from Chapters 9 and 10 of the Correctional Services Act (CSA), which JICS was planning to enhance. It wanted to move away from Chapters 9 and 10 and align with the Sonke Gender Justice judgment. The IJ and the CEO would appear at the Constitutional Court on Tuesday, 3 March 2020, for confirmation of the judgment.

JICS was a signatory to international law instruments through the South African government. It had been accepted and ratified last year as a signatory to the United Nations’ Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). Some of the working operating tools of JICS were broadly aligned with the Mandela Rules.

Mr Misser explained the five broad mandates of JICS.

Mandate 1

JICS needed to do inspections at centres, and would in future generate a physical report. This report would go to the Heads of Centres for comment and to answer to all exceptions that were of critical importance for oversight organisation. Beyond that, JICS would capture the physical report into a conclusion report, which would be brought to Parliament through the Minister and the judge. At a high level, JICS would report on a quarterly basis on the condition of the centres. The conclusion would be categorised as either satisfactory, unsatisfactory or Good. JICS would provide reasons for assigning the specific category to each centre in the highly confidential conclusion reports.

Mandate 2

JICS was managing inmate complaints that were received through the Independent Correctional Centre Visitor (ICCV) programme. Complaints were also received through external reporting on a continuous basis through the Public Protector, the Human Rights Commission, families of inmates and other stakeholders that submitted complaints to be revisited and investigated. Complaints of a serious nature were dealt with by the IJ.

Mandate 3

During the course of duty and out of mandatory reporting, JICS identified and became involved in investigations of deaths at centres. The CEO felt that JICS was crippled in this environment, as it did not have a specialised unit to do the investigations. The new business model specifically made provision for this component of investigating human rights violations.

Mandate 4

The CEO explained that it was a compulsory statutory obligation through the Act, for all Heads of Centres to report incidents classified in the Big Four categories of human rights violations. This was one of the areas that needed enhancement, and a platform had been created through the new e-Corrections, or management information system (MIS) to capture the information in real time. He hoped that that each death that occurred in the centres would be reported.

Mandate 5

The ICCV Programme was introduced in 1998. It had since been re-engineered and aligned with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to employ the officials as level five public servants. JICS was working on enhancing the programme to make it more efficient in terms of the mandate. The officials were working for three hours at a small centre, five hours at a medium centre and six hours at a large centre. In the previous dispensation, the ICCVs worked only 62 hours per month. ICCVs now worked every day at a centre so that JICS could click a button and get the information when it was required.

Strategic mission and importance of JICS

JICS ensured that human dignity and the right to life were respected, and was also a strong champion of the clauses of the Constitution. Beyond that, Section 90 of the CSA stipulated that the IJ arranged for the inspection of centres. The history of the past three to five years showed that JICS had visited only 81 of the 243 centres. The CEO said that the programme had been re-engineered, and with limited resources it had improved to 136 visits, which was almost 56% of the 243 centres. The goal was to ensure that every centre was visited within a performance cycle of 12 months. South Africa had recently ratified OPCAT. As head of JICS, the IJ was a member of the National Preventative Mechanism (NPM) which was currently housed at the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). The IJ was visited by the SAHRC from time to time.
Mr Misser said that JICS reported on the treatment of inmates and conditions of infrastructure, taking into account all information as mandated though the office of the IJ. It had an effective complaints mechanism. The systematic inspections conducted had increased from 81 to 136. JICS went beyond the yardstick and conduct thorough investigations of serious human rights violations. The relationship was enhanced with the broader structure of the Justice Cluster, including the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) for cases that required interventions on a criminal level. There were many instances where JICS was assisted with investigations that were re-opened. There were also other organisations that provided assistance, including the SAHRC, the Public Protector and the Public Service Commission.

Current dependencies

The CEO repeated the issue of the dependency on the parent body for all the Information Technology (IT) and functional systems, including manual systems. The IJ and the team in Johannesburg were totally independent, and on separate domains. The IJ had a Justice domain address, but the rest of the 86 staff were still on the DCS domain. JICS was also dependent on the DCS for the electronic administrative systems, including the Basic Accounting System (BAS). JICS had to request for the release of functions to process an appointment. He was hopeful that once the business case was unpacked by the advisory committee, all these issues would be tightened, with the migration from the DCS through a phased-out approach, similar to what happened in the office of the Chief Justice. JICS had developed its policies to regulate, control and manage its own environment in line with the Public Service Administration requirements, as was contained in the business case.

Policy framework

The policy framework was based on three outcomes:

  • Improved humane treatment of inmates;
  • Improved access and managing the responsiveness to complaints by creating a JICS website and domain, so that independence could be proved to stakeholders. For this, JICS had approached Treasury, the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and government for support and funding; and
  • Improved human dignity of inmates by providing support to their families. The CEO informed the Committee about a death that occurred at a centre in 2009. Due to some complications with the investigation, the case had been closed in 2011/12 without anyone being held accountable. The family needed closure and had approached JICS through the NDPP to intervene and bring the case to finality and a conclusion. JICS was currently busy with the case.

Operating model and reporting system

A comprehensive business case had been presented to the Minister, who had agreed to sign it off. It was now on the table of the Minister of the DPSA to constitute the advisory committee and to evaluate the five options presented to him. JICS had punted to be a government component housed in this Committee, report to the Minister through this Committee, and to account to the people. This was the essence of the business case.

In anticipation of the Sonke Gender Justice judgment that was expected to be confirmed on 3 March, the IJ and the Minister had submitted affidavits. A concept Green Paper had already been drafted, as well as the draft Act, as had been requested by this Committee. It would be presented to the Committee when approached. It had broadly been agreed during the previous administration that JICS should have its own Act. It was the responsibility of the Committee to drive the process.

The CEO said that JICS had a monthly management reporting tool from which reports could be generated. The third quarterly report was ready to be presented. JICS was looking forward to assimilating the annual report by March 2020. JICS had also held thematic seminars based on trends, and invited academics and other stakeholders. The last seminar report was presented by Deputy Minister Holomisa. Previous seminars had been based on mental health issues.

The new model envisaged that JICS should function impartially and perform its oversight function without fear, favour and prejudice to secure appropriate redress.

A major part of the budget still lay with the DCS, while JICS had only an operational budget. The business case, which had been compiled with the assistance of an advisory panel from National Treasury, included a new funding model. The Minister had assured that the money was not coming from National Treasury, but from the DCS.

Statutory challenges

JICS was regulated within Chapters 9 and 10 of the Correctional Services Act (CSA) of 1998. The CSA was due for amendment. The use of force needed to be unpacked in detail for oversight purposes, and to exercise control. Sections within the CSA were insufficiently clear. The CEO said he was aware that the National Commissioner was in the process of establishing a task team to review the entire CSA. He would be obliged to participate in the process of enhancing this Act to meet the standards of public service management.

He recommended that the Committee note the new operating model, support the new JICS model as a client, and assist JICS to fast track the process to become independent.


Mr J Selfe (DA) observed that the lack of reporting was very serious, and suggested that the National Commissioner be invited to comment on the non-adherence to reporting requirements. There must be consequence management, otherwise the habit would continue. He referred to the reliance by JICS on the information generated by the MIS of the DCS. He was concerned that the DCS might not capture or report all the information, and wondered if there was scope for JICS to report separately on the same system. The segregation would replace the responsibility on the DCS to provide explanations. He said that management information depended on “rubbish-in and rubbish-out.” He was also concerned about the freedom of people to report issues. Some inmates were violent, but they were also human and at the mercy of the officials. He feared that people would be subjected to reprisals should they report cases. He asked whether the new business model included the transfer of people who reported cases so that they did not fear reprisals.

Judge Cameron said that the Member had made a good suggestion. Reporting was a statutory requirement which had to originate from the Department. Addressing the scepticism regarding the independence of the MIS, he undertook to look at the safeguarding of the system through the back-up of an independent system. The IJ supported the suggestion to invite the National Commissioner. The Member had raised a bigger problem about the safeguarding of whistle blowers. JICS would pay attention to this, and look at protection for those who reported on abuses.

The Manager: Inspections and Investigations: JICS, said that he had signed on to the system last week. JICS would raise the issue about what needed to be done to safeguard whistle blowers.

Mr Misser responded that the reporting of deaths was mandated in terms of the Act. He would ask the view of the National Commissioner on the non-compliance in reporting. JICS would put in some riders that would force it to comply. One of the tools being considered was a record of complaints (ROC) by the ICCVs to report on the big four issues -- deaths, mechanical restraints, segregation of inmates and use of force -- if this was not reported by the Heads of Centres. He said that the Manager of Inspections and Investigations was running it as a pilot project from the DCS.

The Manager of Inspections and Investigations: JICS, explained that complaints were being captured in real time. Everything was transparent, but the system was not yet in operation as it was in the testing phase.

Ms Mofokeng said that she appreciated that things were moving faster. She noticed that officials spent only two days on investigations, and asked whether this was enough. Was there consequence management for officials who did not come forward to assist JICS? It was clear that officials were hiding and protecting each other in respect of death cases. She was concerned about the lack of sensitivity regarding deaths at centres. Most families that experienced deaths in prisons found that no one was assisting them to find closure, hence the requests to reopen cases. There should be a process of empathy. She reminded the officials that the inmates were in the prisons for rehabilitation, and that it did not mean that the families had forgotten about them. Many pastors paid visits to inmates, but there was no mechanism to make them better. She asked how whistle blowers could be protected from becoming victims. Questions would be asked if the situation was not remedied.

Mr Misser said that JICS was budget constrained. Its budget was under R18 million, compared to the more than R23 billion allocated to the DCS. Did they know how much money was given back every financial year by this Department? JICS had a staff complement of 86 permanent members and 197 ICCVs for 243 centres. An ICCV at every centre would mean that more than 300 ICCVs were needed. The budget constraints were captured in the business case in terms of the funding model. In 2012, JICS had had only 42 staff members, and the Minister at the time had said that JICS should have more staff. An additional 42 staff posts were abolished within the structures of the DCS and reprioritised to capacitate JICS. The process was concluded in December 2017.

The constrained situation should be raised against the need to prioritise the protection of whistle blowers and to conclude investigations comprehensively. The CEO emphasised the seriousness of the situation by describing an incident that had occurred in October 2019. An inmate had shown signs of psychosis and was put in the hospital arm of the facility, where he had slapped another inmate. The inmate had complained to an official, he had slapped the official, a doctor had been called who had injected him, and the next morning he was dead. He said that there were many holes in the investigation, but JICS would account to the Committee on its next visit.

The CEO said that the challenges faced in terms of cooperation was due to the remoteness of some centres. The person that was expected to give a statement was not always there on arrival, which meant that the JICS official was required to wait, which sometimes ended in vain. For the security of family members and in terms of the Inquest Act, JICS was required to inform the next of kin of inmates and indicate that the investigation was in progress.

The Manager of Inspections and Investigations said that to date, 43 investigations had been reported as work-in-progress. The DCS worked on a case with five to six people for two weeks, compared to JICS, which could afford to use only one to two people for two days. The conclusion of cases normally revealed that the JICS investigations were just as good and, in some cases, even better than DCS investigations. The best that could be done for whistle blowers, was to request a transfer, as JICS did not have the power to arrange transfers.

Addressing the issue of the lack of reporting raised by Mr Selfe, Judge Cameron informed the Committee of a death that had occurred at the Drakenstein facility two weeks ago. He noticed that Mr Selfe was not present at this point, but Adv G Breytenbach (DA) had assured him that she would convey his response to Mr Selfe. The security had been investigated, but it was unclear what had happened. It appeared that the inmate had had an emergency operation. Drakenstein had a new system, with wonderful video monitoring equipment that was programmed to automatically delete information after one week.

The Manager Inspections and Investigations said that not many deaths occurred at the centres.

Adv Breytenbach congratulated the Chairperson for his good performance. She was happy about the enthusiasm that was created by the presence of Judge Cameron. She expressed her concern about what happened at the Drakenstein prison, and suggested that the Committee visit the facility and demand answers. It appeared to her that the man had been beaten to death and had died at the hands of officials. She had been a prosecutor for 26 years, and whoever was guilty had to go to prison. She sensed that with the new enthusiasm, there was an effort to improve conditions. The government must find the money and recover it from Bosasa. She referred to the ROC system that was live, and asked who had access to the system.

The Manager of Inspections and Investigations replied that the system was live only to defenders, and depended on whoever the DCS decided should have access. He was the only JICS official with access.

Adv Breytenbach asked whether JICS announced visits to centres, and if there were consequences when the officials they expected to meet were not there. She said such cases should be reported to this Committee, and that there must be consequences. She was aware that warders were treated badly, but a culture of mutual respect must be built between warders and inmates, as inmates were human too. Accountability on both sides would improve respect from both sides. She agreed that the Committee should invite the National Commissioner and ask why such a small portion of the budget was allocated by the DCS.

The Manager of Inspections and Investigations explained that an inspection register was in place. JICS would send a notification 14 days in advance, and send a reminder of the visit. He suspected that when it came to investigations, members were difficult to get hold of as they were either on sick leave, night duty or escort duty. When a meeting was arranged for a later date, members were reportedly on sick leave.

Ms Emerentia Cupido, JICS spokesperson, explained that semi-announced visits did occur, especially when the IJ would do the visit to inspect what needed to be done. For example, should ten of 190 taps require fixing, the IJ would do a follow-up to confirm whether the taps had been fixed. JICS could make recommendations, but they were not enforceable. Processes had been put in place to test whether recommendations were put into effect.

Ad Breytenbach asked whether it was possible for the IJ to report unresolved issues to the Committee so that the Committee could go on unannounced visits. She felt strongly that people should be held accountable.

Ms Mofokeng said that it was important that recommendations were enforced, as government needed to work for the benefit of the people of South Africa. She raised the issue of mental health cases, and suggested that the Committee visit these hospitals and investigate what kind of medication was used that turned people into zombies. She welcomed the pending judgment of the Sonke Gender Justice case.

The Chairperson voiced his dissatisfaction about not being presented with the business case. ‘The Committee was interested in the details of the case because it would allow it to be satisfied with its contents. He felt that at this point, the business case was very abstract. He pointed out that it had been presented to the Minister in 2019, but this was a new Committee, so JICS should not have assumed the Committee knew about it. He was happy that JICS “had its ducks in a row” regarding the Sonke Gender judgment, but asked whether there was a Plan B should the answer not be in favour of JICS.

He was also disappointed that the second part of the presentation had mainly reported on complaints about the DCS. He needed JICS to account on their performance. If JICS and the National Commissioner were on opposite sides, he would need to mediate. He asked whether JICS had had a session with the National Commissioner, and said that JICS would be invited when the Committee met with the National Commissioner.

He asked if there had been proper engagement about the DCS complaints. He intended to confront the DCS, but needed JICS to engage with the DCS before the time.

Referring to the five areas of the JICS mandate, the Chairperson asked whether proposals around amendments had started. The Committee needed to measure the performance of JICS, and not what JICS was unable to do because of the DCS.

He observed that in summary, seven deaths had been reported in seven months. On average, this meant that a death occurred every month. Three of the deaths had occurred in the Eastern Cape, and four had happened in February. What was the reason for this spike? Could they get to the bottom of this? He asked why there was no clarity about the death at the Johannesburg facility. He concluded on the issue of the unhappiness of JICS with the current arrangements with DCS, and asked what the proposal was and whether it was included in the Business Case.

Judge Cameron welcomed the frontal challenges, and accepted the point about the tone of the report. He said that the Committee would be relieved to hear that both he and the CEO had met with the National Commissioner on 27 January. Issues had been raised with him, and a collegial response had been received from him. The lapse in reporting had caused difficulties in fulfilling the duties of JICS. He agreed that the insistence of the Committee on inter-departmental cooperation was rightful, and that it had been mentioned at the Bosberaad that was held three weeks ago.

He said that the government had signalled that JICS should draft its own statute, and he was still applying his mind. He had met with the legal advisor of the President on Tuesday about the draft statute. He apologised for not submitting the business case, but said in mitigation that it was linked to the pending Constitutional Court case.

Mr Misser said that the business case had been submitted to the previous administration, and undertook to re-submit it to the Members.

The Chairperson reminded officials that the Committee wanted to correct the issue about JICS being viewed as a stepchild. It was important that the Committee was not left out, especially when it involved meetings with the Minister. Any gap would not be helpful.

Mr Misser replied that JICS would commit to keeping the Committee informed. He would follow up on whether the National Commissioner had established the task team to assist in the amendment of the CSA.

He said that the death at the Johannesburg facility had occurred only eight days ago, on 20 February, and the Committee would be informed about the outcome of the investigation once all the reports were received.

Judge Cameron said that the question about the spike in the number of deaths was a difficult one. The power lay with the Committee, the JICS work force and the DCS personnel to break the malevolent cycle of institutional malaise.

The Chairperson said that after meeting with the DCS last week, the Committee had been left worried, to the extent that the Minister would be called to report on matters. The DCS had been given homework to deal with issues of staffing and litigation costs. The Committee had budgeted to spend two hours for meetings on Fridays, and had made a good start today. He could not promise that it would be the same every week, but it would be exciting and every meeting would be used to benefit the sector. The Committee would support JICS 100% to get their house in order. Excuses would not be listened to, and JICS must earn respect based on its work. The influence of the highly respected Judge would not be enough. Something more serious must be done to benefit from the experience of Judge Cameron. The Committee would summarise key issues, and interact with JICS on the Drakenstein matter.

Judge Cameron asked for an opportunity to respond to the issue of unattended complaints raised by Ms Mofokeng and supported by Adv Breytenbach. He shared an anecdote about a visit in 2010 to the Groenpunt facility, which he had done in his personal capacity as a judge. In his report, which was available online, he had raised the matter of a problem with the boilers. The facility was on the Vaal River, where temperatures reached below freezing, and where hot water was a necessity. The Head of Centre had said that he could not get it fixed as the Department of Public Works (DPW) was not working. Two and a half years later, a most serious event occurred, which had resulted in the loss of a life. The Head of Centre who had been trying to deal with the issue, was blamed. For this reason, he had sympathy with Correctional Services officials who were dependent on other departments. Ten years later, problems still existed at Groenpunt. He pledged to use the energy in JICS, and hoped for matching energy from the Department.

The Chairperson confirmed receipt of the quarterly report, which would be discussed at the next meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.



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