Audit of Department of Correctional Services

Correctional Services

14 April 2000
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Meeting report

14 March 2000


Documents Handed Out
Management Audit of the Department of Correctional Services (Appendix 1)
Slide Presentation (Appendix 2)

The Audit of the Department of Correctional Services, ordered by the Minister of Public Service Administration revealed disturbing findings with regard to the Department’s Planning and Budgeting and its Human Resources Management and Development (HRMD). With regard to HRMD there was evidence of corruption and favoritism. A review of all HR practices has been recommended.
Most prison conditions of inmates were appalling and clearly below the minimum standard prescribed by article 35(2)e of the Constitution. Members from all parties shared concern that the State had lost control of Correctional Services. The delegates were continually pressed on who held power within the Department, and within the prisons.

Mr Kitshoff highlighted aspects of the Audit by means of a slide presentation (see Appendix 1).

The Panel taking part in the discussion consisted of Ruan Kitshoff, Director of DPSA, Odette Ramsingh, from the Public Services Commission, and Corrie Smit from DPSA.

The committee focused their questions on whether there were mechanisms in place to deal with the corruption, or whether more staff and increased capacity were required. Members from all parties shared concern that the State had lost control of Correctional Services. The delegates were continually pressed on who held power within the Department, and within the prisons.

It was stated that the problems facing the prison systems were a result of corruption that had occurred over a number of years, without any measures being taken to address them. As a result, there was a "culture of malice" within the prison environment. The problems were exacerbated by the fact that there was a high level of harassment and intimidation towards members of the Department and prisons staff that attempted to report any wrong doings. He firmly stated the answer would be to change the entire culture of the criminal system.

It was added that there were a few good managers in the Department, but that the corruption was so overwhelming that the current management was unable to handle it. A management plan had been submitted to the Department, and many of the recommendations would soon be implemented. One of the recommendations was an improved monitoring system of the prisoners. They stated that drastic action was needed to rid the system of corruption.

The ANC questioned to what extent the unions were involved in the corruption, as well as what mechanisms were in place to protect workers who reported corrupt practices. The DP asked specifically if the unions were controlling the Department.

The panel replied that the reason there were so many networks of power was due to the previous Commissioner who managed the Department with centralized power. To counter this, many "alternative networks" had developed in an attempt to create a balance of power. These alternative networks increased the amount of corruption. He supported a new Act, which would ensure a proper system of checks and balances.

The panel would not comment on the extent of the unions involvement in the corruption.

On the harassment and intimidation of workers, Ms Odette Ramsingh stated that there were no measures in place to protect the workers who wanted to report corruption. As a result, the management must take a more pro-active role in changing the work environment. It was argued the management must restore a higher level of confidence in their workers, and be more strict in implementing proper work practices. Although there was strict confidentiality for those who had reported corrupt practices, the Department could not ensure it.

The discussion period was cut short due to time constraints.
Appendix 1

Appendix 2:
Department of Public Service and Administration
14 APRIL 2000

• Background
• Scope of investigation
• Composition
• Phases of the investigation
• Programming of work

• Allegations of corruption, bribery, maladministration and sexual harassment emanate from Mgt Audit
• Allegations were raised with the President and two Ministers, who agreed on the investigation
• Two investigations-one PSC, one into allegations

Scope of investigation
• Purpose of investigation to establish whether foundation exists for allegations and where foundation indeed exists, to make appropriate recommendations
• Disciplinary action, where warranted, remains the responsibility of the Commissioner
• In terms of section 3(4) of the Public Service Act, if so requested by the President or a Minister, the Minister for the PS&A can conduct such an investigation
• Both the President and the Minister of Correctional Services have requested the investigation
• The Public Service Act further empowers the Minister to have access to such official documents and information that may be relevant to the investigation

Composition of investigating team
• Justice
• Scorpions
• Forensic investigators

Phases of the investigation
• Phase 1
∙Information gathering, individual discussions
∙Circular to staff, toll-free line, cellphone numbers(4), posters in prisons, e-mail
∙Excellent responses from staff at prison level, former employees and even prisoners
∙The Management Audit mainly revealed allegations at head office and provincial office levels
∙The information from the toll-free line, e-mail and cellphones more focussed on prison and area management levels
∙Huge amount of prisoners accessed toll-free line
• Concerns:
∙Culture of fear/intimidation
∙Lack of co-operation
∙Disappearance of documents
• Phase 2
∙Actual investigative phase
∙Teams focussed on specific institutions and focal points (clusters)
∙Commenced on 27 March 2000
• Phase 3
∙Management plan for cases the team cannot attend to- end June
• Phase 4
∙Consolidated report to President, Ministers and Commissioner during July
∙Including Management Plan for outstanding cases

Programming of work
• Allegations are clustered/recorded by province and head office
• Five teams:
∙1-Head office
∙3-Tenders and industries
∙4-Criminal cases (Scorpions)
∙5-Parole system
• Each team has prioritised the allegations
• Some allegations include complex relationships/problems and will take more time than others to investigate
• Case management system linked with time frames
• Weekly reporting and monitoring of progress



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