Department of Correctional Services 2022/2023 Annual Performance Plan; with Deputy Minister

NCOP Security and Justice

01 June 2022
Chairperson: Ms S Shaikh (ANC, Limpopo)
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Meeting Summary

Correctional Services

Tabled Committee Reports

The Select Committee convened virtually to be briefed by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) on its 2022/2023 Annual Performance Plan and Budget.

The Deputy Minister raised some of the key concerns in the Department of Correctional Services’ Annual Performance Plan (APP) and budget presentation. He stated that some of the limitations and challenges included the national budget constraints, the vaccination rollout in facilities, the rate of overcrowding in correctional facilities, the strained relationships with partners and stakeholders, legislative and policy implementation, and social cohesion.

The Department also addressed the Committee’s concerns about overcrowding in facilities, security issues, vaccination programmes, the debilitation of correctional infrastructure, and the Department’s relations with other departments to solve their challenges.

The Committee asked the Department to clarify the rationality behind their decision-making processes, implementation and management strategies, the strength of their security systems, legislative implementation and construction, social and mental health care programs, gangsterism and violence in facilities, internal corruption, and plans to fill vacancies. 

Meeting report

The Chairperson opened the virtual meeting and noted all Members present. She also welcomed the management team from the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).

She acknowledged the presence of Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, Inkosi Patekile Holomisa, and Acting National Commissioner, Mr Makgothi Thobakgale.

She further alerted the delegates of the Committee’s interests in matters regarding overcrowding in prisons, the condition of correctional services’ infrastructure at the provincial level, and the capacity of officers at provincial facilities.

She invited the Deputy Minister to start with the presentation.

Department of Correctional Services Annual Performance Plan 2022/23
Briefing notes presented by the Deputy Minister
Deputy Minister Holomisa briefed the Committee about some of the key concerns in the Department of Correctional Services’ Annual Performance Plan (APP) and budget presentation. He stated that some of the limitations and challenges included the national budget constraints, the vaccination rollout in facilities, the rate of overcrowding in correctional facilities, the strained relationships with partners and stakeholders, legislative and policy implementation, and social cohesion.

The budget is mainly aimed at ensuring humane, safe, and secure detention, rehabilitation, and the effective reintegration of offenders into communities.

Allocation is distributed to five programmes, which are Administration, Incarceration, Remand Detention, Rehabilitation, Care and Social Reintegration.

He concluded by stating that the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of good and collaborative governance. South Africa should transform into a delivery state, characterised by policy implementation. The Department will present an APP that was influenced by internal and external factors.

Department of Correctional Service Annual Performance Plan and Budget
The APP was presented by various members of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) management team.

The Committee was taken through the strategic focus results chain where impact was focused on
1.Improved safety and security of inmates, parolees, probationers, officials, stakeholders, assets and information
2.Improved case management processes of inmates
3.Increased access to needs-based rehabilitation programmes to improve moral fibre
4.Successful reintegration of all those under the care of the Department
5.Healthy incarnated population
6.High-perforing ethical organisation

The strategic focus is further split into two sections: external environment and performance environment.

External Environment:
• Economic overview: Spending is restrained due to the national economic drain. To avoid further budget deficit, they will amend expenditure patterns through improved revenue performance or through reprioritisation and reviewing existing programs.

• Crime statistics: The rate of murder, rape, and sexual violence crimes has increased in the last financial year, thus causing more incarceration.

• COVID-19 pandemic: Infection rates continue to fluctuate but the rollout of vaccines has improved matters.

• Unemployment: The Department intends to fill vacancies from their application pool.

Performance Environment:
• Security: The Department constantly aims to evolve security systems and strategies that subdue risks and threats.

• Incarceration: The COVID-19 Special Parole Dispensation during 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 resulted in the reduction of the inmate population. However, overcrowding in facilities remains a perplexing challenge for the DCS.

• Remand Detention: the Department adheres to laws and procedures which involve remand detainees.

• Rehabilitation: The Department will continue to strengthen collaboration with external service providers through regular engagements and in line with the set service level standards.

• Social Reintegration: The Department is implementing social programmes that will curb COVID-19’s effect on the reintegration process.

• Care: The Department will increase its interaction and collaboration with the relevant stakeholders for capacity building to ensure comprehensive management of the health conditions of inmates.

The budget is divided into five main sections:
• The Administration budget has subdivisions such as Management; Finance; Human Resources; Information Technology; and Judicial Inspectorate of Correctional Services (JICS).

• Incarceration, which is constituted by security operations, includes remand detention; and offender management.

• The Rehabilitation budget is subdivided into correctional programs; offender development; and psychology, social and spiritual services.

• The care budget is divided into health and hygiene services; and, nutritional services.

• The social reintegration budget involves supervision, community reintegration and office accommodation.

Members were taken through the detailed targets per programme, District Development Model and budget allocations.               

(See slides for more detail.)

The Chairperson asked the Department for an updated presentation because the slides they received beforehand had two slides less than the presentation the Department presented in the meeting.

Ms M Bartlett (ANC, Northern Cape) enquired about the whereabouts and details of the (provincial) project mentioned on slide 31.

She asked about the Department’s plans to restore buildings that have been declared beyond economic repair, as mentioned on slide 6. Would they build more facilities?

On slides 14 to16, the Department indicated that most infrastructure projects have been 24 months late due to the challenges they have encountered with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI). What has been done to address this problem and what are the Department’s current timeframes for undoing this backlog?

Noting slide 23, she also asked if the Department’s intervention on integrated security systems yielded any results or achievements.

Concerning slide 25, she asked if the Department could provide more information about its plan to use inmates to perform “in-house labour”.

Noting slide 5, she asked what the alternative measures were that have been put in place to house inmates from the correctional centers that are in need of repair.

Remarking on slide 22, she asked what the success rates were of the Department’s plan to reduce rates of detention. Also, has the Department collaborated with other departments and potential stakeholders to reduce overcrowding in correctional centers?

Ms A Maleka (ANC, Mpumalanga) noted that on slide 27 the target for implementation of the integrated inmates’ management systems have increased from 12% to 16% over the last financial year, yet the Department has failed to improve its targets in terms of the Integrated Inmate Management System (IIMS). What measures have been implemented to ensure success in this financial year? What problems does the Department have regarding implementation plans and processes?

She then asked the Department to provide a reason as to why the target for overcrowding was revised from less than 28% in 2021/2022 to less than 22% in 2022/2023.

What are the reasons for the 90% target instead of a 100% target for inmates to be screened for diabetes and hypertension?

What steps will the Department take to manage and mitigate the risk of inadequate strategic development?

The most effective sub-program is supervision which has been decreased drastically on the budget. What are the reasons for this reduction? How will this affect the supervision component of the service delivery sector?

What is the current number of vacancies in the Department at the provincial level? What is the timescale and implementation plan to fill vacancies?

What is the provincial ratio of officers to inmates?

Are there sufficient mental health care workers and services for inmates? What are the Department’s challenges in this regard?

Mr G Michalakis (DA, Free State) said that he had four questions. The first is on how the current increases in fuel costs have affected the Department’s budget.

The Department is fighting a lost battle with the issue of overcrowding as it is expected to remain in the 28% to 32% range. The bed spaces that have been added and the debilitation of prisons only stands to worsen the situation. How does the Department plan to redress these long-standing problems?

Why did it take the Department this long to replace the asbestos roofs at Pollsmoor?

Which rehabilitation programs have suffered from budget cuts? What was the Department’s decision-making process of making these cuts?

Mr E Mthethwa (ANC, KZN) stated that the SAPS had a major problem regarding vehicle repayment due to procurement policies. How is the Department dealing with this matter?

What strategies are in use to implement the budget?

Mr K Motsamai (EFF, Gauteng) asked about the Department’s measures to stop gangsterism and violence in prisons.

Mr T Dodovu (ANC, North West) asked if the Department has the adequate financial, human resources and management resources to deal with criminal activity inside the prisons.

He asked how the Department will fight the scourge of corruption in facilities amid the budget cut.

The Chairperson wondered how the Department will practically ensure the safety of inmates given the high levels of overcrowding.

What are the legislative gaps that have been identified by the Department to address some of the challenges encountered?

Does the Department plan to introduce new legislation to address their problems?

What are the Department’s strategies to reduce levels of escape from centers?

The Department’s target to handle corruption in facilities remains at 95%, which is the same as the last financial year’s target. Why has the Department not increased this target?

Given the high levels of overcrowding in facilities, how are they addressing the morale of officials? What are the training programs in place for DCS officials?

What are the main findings of the judicial inspectorate of correctional services report on human rights abuses in the facilities?

The Acting National Commissioner addressed the question on the main findings of the judicial inspectorate by stating that the cardinal issues were highlighted. The first was that overcrowding presents both capacity problems for the Department and affects the living conditions of offenders. The second issue was the poor state of correctional infrastructure. The last issue was the security challenges in the facilities.

He stressed that the management team worked closely and timeously with the judicial inspectorate. They provide the inspectorate with the necessary support to do their work without hindrance.

The gaps they have identified in the legislation include those that deal with interstate transference of foreign national offenders, parole periods for gender-based violence and femicide offenders, authority to reconsider parole, the serving of retired judges on the National Council for Correction, the disintegration of working conditions for DCS employees, the treatment of inmates in the facilities, as well as the problem of security systems.

Dr Botha, a member of the DCS management team, responded to the question on the construction and infrastructure projects that are scheduled for completion in this financial year. He said that according to their APP, there is one project that is scheduled for completion. This project is currently under construction. One of the debilitated facilities has been closed, and there is a contracted constructor on site, and they are set to complete construction by the end of this financial year.

He responded to the question about the centers that are currently closed due to economic repair. There are two centers of this nature: one in the Western Cape and the other in Limpopo. The cost required to repair these centers would outweigh the option to demolish and rebuild. Therefore, they have opted for the latter.

On the question of the DCS’s relationship with the Department of Public Works, he remarked that they provided the statistics of projects that need public work repair. 45% of these projects were allocated to the Department of Public Works in the last financial year, yet only 10% of these were complete. They are in the process of transferring the incomplete projects to the DCS. Their current assessment admits that there is a challenge with public works execution and implementation, and they need to find an alternative. They have begun the process of maintaining their facilities using inmate labour.

On the question of the success rate of security systems, maintenance problems have affected the security system. In the last financial year, they hired contractors to maintain these security systems. The greatest success of these projects is that they spent only a quarter of the DPW’s estimated price. Their prevalent strategy is to maintain these systems without replacing them. Replacement is the final resort.

Regarding the asbestos problem, he referred to the 2020 Asbestos Act that attempts to make South Africa an asbestos-free state. The challenge with this issue has been differentiating old structures that were built using asbestos and those that were not.

The Acting Deputy National Commissioner responded to the question on the status of reaching their target and their IT systems. He stated that the Department could not reach the target of improving its IT systems because they have fewer resources than before. They have been in the process of internally rolling out the system instead of outsourcing due to lack of funds. The pace has been slower than usual. The Department has submitted a bid that is currently under review to acquire more resources. Once this is finalised, the Department will roll out and develop the INTS system for more sites.

A DSC management team member addressed the issue of violence and gangsterism in facilities. He declared that they were engaged in the intentional profiling of all inmates to determine their gang status. They are also currently planning to implement policies and procedures that will stop gang-related incidents. They are collaborating with the SAPS and other critical bodies to stop these incidents.

They have re-arrested 59% of the 32 inmates who escaped from facilities in the last financial year. In this financial year, they will participate in a national programme that aims to strengthen security systems in different sectors.

They hoped to increase the capacity of staff at the entry level as the Minister mentioned in this year’s financial budget speech.

Chief Deputy Commissioner: Remand Detention, Ms Cynthia Ramulifho, responded to questions regarding the human resource sector of the Department. She stated that their recent statistics show that the ratio of officers to inmates is 1:4 at the national level.

On the matter of vacancies, the mass recruitment process is implemented quarterly. The Minister has given the go-ahead to fill missing and empty vacancies. They are bound to the court’s rule to fill up vacancies and they plan to do so effectively.

She responded to the questions of morale by stating that they have integrated an all-encompassing mental healthcare and wellness programme that was recommended by the Acting National Commissioner. The support programme aims to lift the morale and improve the performance of the officers. They have encouraged their officials to participate in the sports and recreational programs, which have been resuscitated by the Ministry. The morale of officers has improved due to these efforts.

They have more programs that assist with physical fitness, weight loss, self-defence, and women empowerment.

They have improved on their anti-fraud program that helps to deteriorate corruption, from which they have arrested corrupt officials.

The Acting CFO, Mr Marula, responded to the question of risk mitigation of the prevention of irregular and wasteful expenditure.

The Department has mitigated the risk by implementing the following plans: the first involves enhancing internal controls by introducing the Departmental Internal Control Committee. This Committee will identify the sectors that have the highest irregular expenditure rates.

Secondly, they have amended certain aspects of their delegation authority management to cut down expenditure. They have trained regional head finance officers about the new supply chain management and reforms to ensure consistency and common understanding in the Department.

They have introduced a standard national procurement plan to curb disintegrated operations of different regions for efficient management implementation.

Lastly, National Treasury has exempted their perishables versus non-perishable over-expenditure due to lack of outsourced contractors.

The Department has introduced the Demand Management Plan to ensure the Department’s success in procuring goods and services at market-related prices and procure more contracts for better deals.

The Department struggles with long procurement plans since they were also affected by the Constitutional Court outcome, like SAPS. The Treasury’s exemption has helped them curb the effects of the court’s outcome.

He lastly mentioned that they are finalising the announcement of their committees to ensure a quick turn-around time of implementation plans.

In the supply chain management sector in their head office, they introduced the new role of the Key Account Manager, who will execute the agenda of their procurement plan to track progress and hold relevant officials accountable.

A member of the management team addressed the problem of budget allocations for social programmes. She remarked that there has been a general decrease in social program allocations due to national budget cuts. Some programs have been merged while others have sustained substantial cuts.

She commented that fuel increases have affected the Department’s budget for fuel and oil allocations. The 2022/2023 budget takes note of the inflation rate enforced by National Treasury, which they have assessed to be lower than the reality of the actual inflation rate they have experienced as a department. Their main goal is to closely monitor their expenditure on fuel and oil due to unpredictable and fluctuating national fuel rates.

Another official addressed the issue of overcrowding.  She stated that the DCS cannot reduce the brimming number of detainees without assistance from the courts. The population of detainees has gradually decreased from 2020. The average population has been below 47 000, which is a good rate for the DCS.

Another official from financial management addressed concerns regarding human resource management.

They have prioritised filling in health sector vacancies such as those for doctors, psychologists, and nurses. They have lost employees in this sector to other departments in government due to high demand. They are planning to recruit more specialists from their pool of applications.

A member of the strategic development team commented on the loss of bed space due to debilitation of buildings and overpopulation. In the 2019/2020 financial year, overcrowding decreased from 38% to 28%. Over the last year, they experienced an increase in the prison population and have thus lost bed space, which informed their target of 32% since their last target of 28% was not achieved.

Due to the COVID-19 surge, they have prioritised vulnerable inmates. Due to the resource constraints, overpopulation of prisons, and lack of health practitioners, they believe that the 90% target of high blood and diabetes vaccination is best suited for their current predicament.

The 95% target of arresting corrupt officials rests on the fact that the prosecution and conviction process is complicated, as it relies on evidence and witnesses testimonies. This target is the most realistic of all other ambitious possibilities.

Another member from the risk and strategic development team spoke of their ongoing implementation of digitisation and electronic archival projects.

The Deputy Minister of the DSC concluded the response section.

The Chairperson opened a round of follow-up questions.

Mr Mthethwa asked a follow-up question on the Department’s management plan for vehicle procurement deals.

Mr Motsamai raised an issue on the protection of whistleblowers and re-incarceration of gangsters.

A member of the financial management team spoke of securing and procuring management of vehicles. She spoke of regional delays regarding service providers and contractors. They have transferred whole-scale allocation responsibility from regions to the national center.

The Acting National Commissioner stated that they protect officials who are whistleblowers. They are a few cases under investigation and prosecution involving whistleblowers and witnesses.

The Chief Deputy Commissioner of Human Resources clarified that they were finalising performance legislation, which spurs performance management in the Department.

The Acting National Commission thanked the Chairperson and concluded the Department’s responses.

The Deputy Minister stressed the effects of national budget constraints, which have forced government departments in their entirety to reprioritise and augment programme expenditure. He also addressed the lack of officials in the facilities, the ethics of correction vis-à-vis imprisonment, and the problem of prison breaks. They intend to strengthen their weaknesses and strengthen relations with other departments and various stakeholders. He thanked the Committee for its recommendations and critical contributions.

The Chairperson made her final remarks, thanked, and released the DCS Ministry and management team.

Report of the Select Committee on Security and Justice on the 2022/23 Budget Vote 5, Annual Performance Plan (App) of the Department of Home Affairs

The Chairperson outlined key issues in the report that were addressed in the last meeting. She read over the Committee’s recommendations to the Department. She asked if Members approved of the report and its recommendations.

Mr Michalakis said the DA would abstain from adopting the report.

The report was adopted.

The meeting was adjourned.

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