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JOINT BUDGET COMMITTEE
31 October 2005
MEDIUM TERM BUDGET POLICY STATEMENT: INPUT BY JUSTICE, CRIME PREVENTION AND SECURITY CLUSTER
Chairperson: Mr B J Mkhaliphi (ANC, Mpumalanga)
Documents handed out
The South African Police Services Submission on Vote 24: Safety and Security
The Department of Defence Submission on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement
The Department of Correctional Services Submission on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement for 2006/7 to 2008/9
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development Submission on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement
Department of Justice and Constitutional Development PowerPoint presentation
The Committee heard submissions by the South African Police Services, the Department of Defence, the Department of Correctional Services and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on the medium term budget policy statement. Most of the Departments had identified MTEF spending priorities relating to the upgrading of infrastructure, appointing additional personnel and the modernisation of operational systems. The Departments all belonged to the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster. Members voiced their concern over the lack of co-ordination and co-operation within the clusters throughout the discussions.
Submission by the South African Police Services
Deputy National Commissioner L Pruis stated that the South African Police Services (SAPS) were in line with Governments’ programme of action to include, specifically, serious and violent crime reduction, concentrating on organised crime, improving the security situation and dealing with major events. Divisional Commissioner S Schutte identified the combating of crime against women and children and the enhancement of service delivery as further key operational priorities. Deputy National Commissioner Pruis further stated that the SAPS aimed for closer conformance to the goals of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster such as the development of the integrated justice system.
Divisional Commissioner S Schutte stated that it was the wish of the SAPS that the following would feature strongly in the 2006 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF): the increased acquisition of policing infrastructure; equipment and operational costs for borderline control; additional personnel; and the necessary resources to put a revised reservist system in place.
Mr T Ralane (ANC, Free State) commented favourably on the SAPS response to and utilisation of their budget allocation over the past three years. Mr Ralane asked for an indication of what progress had been achieved in terms of the priorities outlined by the SAPS in its MTBPS submission of the year before. He also asked for an indication of the kind of value achieved by the SAPS in its spending.
Divisional Commissioner Schutte stated that spending priorities identified in the SAPS MTPBS submission of the previous year had been achieved. In terms of additional personnel, the SAPS made 148 970 new appointments, whereas the target was 148 060. The establishment of an information and communications technology (ICT) plan had seen the gap in end user equipment experienced in rural areas greatly reduced, and mainframe capacity increased. The vehicle to personnel ratio (all SAPS personnel) had been improved from 1 to 2.9. Given that it was a public entity providing collective goods and services, the SAPS believed that it provided good value for the money it spent.
Deputy National Commissioner Pruis stated that, to a certain extent, the crime reduction figures achieved by the SAPS was a good indicator of the value achieved by the SAPS. Reduction figures for violent crime stood at 3% to 5%.
Mr D Botha (ANC, Limpopo) expressed concern over the transfer and control of ammunition through to the revised reservist system; over the training given to former homelands police officials with regards to taking statements properly; and, over stress and suicide levels in police ranks.
Deputy National Commissioner Pruis stated that various programmes were in place to facilitate the transfer of equipment and supplies from the commando system of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to the revised reservist system. Specific training programmes had been devised to teach statement taking to visible police members. The National Commissioner was currently engaged in revising the police evaluation and in-service training services, as well as the structure of the SAPS.
The Deputy Commissioner explained that social workers and other support staff had been appointed within the SAPS to cater for counselling needs, but that it was primarily the Station Commanders’ responsibility to alert them to where and what types of interventions were required. A host of other measures, including salary revisions for the lower ranks, was expected to bring great improvements with respect to stress and suicide levels within the SAPS.
Mr G Scheemann (ANC, Gauteng) asked what measures were implemented to retain scarce skills in the SAPS. He also asked whether there was discussion between the SAPS and the Department of Housing with regards to the appropriate location of new police stations in light of the new integrated human settlements plan. Finally, Mr Scheemann enquired whether the SAPS had taken provisions for a paid reservist system, as referred to by the Minister of Finance in the MTPBS, into account in its submission to the National Treasury.
Divisional Commissioner Schutte indicated that a scarce skills retention model had been designed and expanded. The model provided for a gratuity coupled to the successful completion of time-based contracts. The model was constantly being refined and had shown some success already. The Divisional Commissioner confirmed provisions for a paid reservist system had been taken into account in the SAPS mid-term expenditure submissions to the National Treasury.
Deputy National Commissioner Pruis indicated that there had been consultation with the Department of Housing.
Mr Scheenmann indicated concern over the age and mileage of police vehicles and asked for an indication of how far the much-vaunted transport policing section was from roll-out.
Divisional Commissioner Schutte explained that the SAPS provided for the write-off of 4500 to 5000 vehicles and the purchase of 8000 to 9000 new vehicles per annum. Supply needs and provisioning were seen to correspond with one another, and to be sustainable. However, the utilisation and allocation of vehicles on micro-level could possibly be improved. Funds for vehicle acquisitions were currently being distributed according to personnel members per province. Thereafter, Provincial Commissioners took over.
The Divisional Commissioner stated that initial transport policing pilot projects (Cape Town Metro, Beit Bridge, Johannesburg and Durban Harbour) were all rolled out to their second phase, while the implementation of further projects (Tshwane Metro, Durban Metro and Wits) were imminent.
Mr Ralane motivated for stronger coordination within the JCPS Cluster.
Submission by the Department of Defence
Mr B Engelbrecht (Department of Defence Budgeting Director) stated that the Department of Defence had identified five MTBPS themes. These were economic participation and the second economy; social security, health and human development; improving the capacity of the state; international relations; and infrastructure projects. In his MTBPS speech, the Minister of Finance also made specific reference to the following issues related to the Department of Defence: a R300 million allocation for peace support operations; the modernisation and combat readiness of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF); and, the continued reduction in allocations for borderline control to the SAPS.
The Minister of Defence had identified various policy priorities for the 2006 MTEF. These included improving the SANDF’s strategic airlift and enhanced intelligence capabilities, and increasing the serviceability of the operational vehicle fleet. Improvements needed to be brought to the military skills development and information and communication systems, while the infrastructure of the Department of Defence also required attention. Funds may also be allocated to the Department for an expanded anti-retroviral drug programme roll-out and to cover Armscor’s Value Added Tax requirements. Finally, downwards rates of exchange adjustments would be brought to the Department’s Strategic Defence Procurement Programme.
Mr Scheenmann noted that in its presentation of the previous year, the Department of Defence had stated that MTBPS concerns were not reflected in its projected budget allocations, and that forced deployments were not catered for in the MTBPS allocations. He asked how these issues had since been addressed. Mr Scheenmann also expressed his concern over the standard and state of military hospitals and asked whether funds allocated to assist with the high costs of medical care would be employed in this regard.
Lieutenant-General Ryhnardt van Rensburg (SANDF Chief of Corporate Staff) stated that budgetary allocations for forced deployments remained a problem, as cases for such deployments often developed in-year. He stated that the Department of Defence had the support of the National Treasury in finding solutions to these problems.
Lieutenant-General van Rensburg said that the conditions of military hospitals were being addressed together with the Department of Public Works. Two Military Hospital in Wynberg had already been upgraded to the required standard. Three Military Hospital was being rebuilt and phase one, the Maternity Ward, had been opened this year. The rest of the phases were budgeted for and their completion was on track. One Military Hospital remained an ongoing challenge. Though its equipment was state-of-the-art, its buildings were not up to standard. The Department of Public Works was being engaged on the issue on an ongoing basis.
Mr Ralane asked whether operations had to be scaled down in Burundi due to lack of funds as stated in the previous year’s MTBPS presentation. Secondly, he asked which of the Minister of Defence’s 2006 MTEF Policy Priorities outlined in the presentation were new, and which were carried over from previous years. Thirdly, he asked why it was that the Department of Defence would not let the restitution of land under its control be administered by the Department of Land Affairs. Mr Ralane also noted from the Department’s submission from the previous year that the National Treasury had approved "partial" funding to address some of its concerns. He asked for clarity on what was meant by "partial" funding. Finally, Mr Ralane wanted to know what the priority outlook was for infrastructure maintenance for the 2006 MTEF, since its enhancement was specified the previous year.
Lieutenant-General van Rensburg stated that the operations in Burundi could not be scaled down due to an election that had taken place there. The Department of Defence had funded its continued operations there from its own operational budget.
Mr Visser (Department of Defence Chief Director Budgeting) stated that for its forced deployments in support of the African agenda it had received additional allocations amounting to R821 million. The Department did receive additional funds over the MTEF for 2005/6/7. For ammunition disposal it received R5 million, R10 million and R50 million. For maintenance and repair it received additional amounts of R10 million, R50 million and R250 million. For strategic defence packages in support of the navy it received allocations of R26 million, R22 million and R30 million. For the medicine depot it received R10 million, R12 million and R40 million. Finally, the Department received equal apportionments amounting to R900 million for peace support operations. These amounts fell short of the original requests for additional funding.
Some of the priorities of the Minister of Defence outlined in the presentation were carried forward from the previous year. These included the improvement of the military skills development system. The allocations for the new priorities were still being discussed.
Mr Motumi (Department of Defence Acting Secretary of Defence) stated that there was co-ordination with the Department of Land Affairs insofar as the restitution of land under the control of the Department of Defence was concerned. The two Departments made a joint presentation to this effect to the Portfolio Committee two months earlier.
Mr Ralane noted that the Department had underspent by R1m for 2004/5, and that it had only spent R9 billion in the first half of 2005/6 out of a total adjusted allocation of R22 billion. He stated that this situation had to be monitored carefully and that Departments that underspent should not plead poverty. Finally, Mr Ralane put forward a deadline of six months for the restitution of all land under the control of the Department of Defence to be put under the administration of the Department of Land Affairs.
Submission by the Department of Correctional Services
MTEF allocations to the Department amounted to R200 million for 2005/6, R333 million for 2006/7, R805 million for 2007/8 and R70 million for 2008/9. These allocations were to fund ICT upgrades (R110 million); functions in terms of the White Paper on Corrections (R250 million); a seven-day establishment (R255 million); nutritional services (R160 million); infrastructure (R140 million); and salary adjustments (R593 million). Internal budget allocations were now structured according to the new direction and programmes of the Department of Correctional Services.
In connection with the implementation of the White Paper, Mr P Gillingham (Department of Correctional Services Chief Financial Officer) noted the Department’s concern that no additional allocation was made for 2006/7. The risk was that the success of the identified Centres of Excellence would be negatively affected. The Department also received no additional allocation for implementation of the Fleet Management System. This implied a negative impact on outputs in terms of the provision of security, needs-based corrections and developmental services to offenders.
New infrastructure projects included the construction of four new correctional centres with 12 000 bed capacity. After the bulk earthworks on these facilities had been completed, bids received from the Department of Public Works indicated costs that were deemed too high (R240 000 per bed). The completion of the centres was now subject to further negotiations with the Department of Public Works and the outcome of an independent study.
Given the issue of inter-cluster co-operation, Mr Ralane expressed his concern over the Department of Correctional Services’ statement in its submission of the previous year that the MTBPS favoured its sister Departments at its expense. Mr Ralane further noted that in the same submission of the previous year, the Department of Correctional Services indicated that it would recruit 3200 additional employees per annum over the next three years, and that R401 million per annum in additional funds would be needed to this end. The submission at hand stated that 3000 new employees had thus far been recruited. He asked for clarity on the relationship between these numbers, and the latest cost estimates. Mr Ralane further wanted to know what the financial implications were for the seven-day establishment vis-à-vis the abolition of overtime. Thirdly, Mr Ralane asked why no allocation was made for 2006/7 for the implementation of the White Paper on Corrections. Finally, Mr Ralane asked what the cost-benefit differences were between funding private correctional centres and public correctional centres.
Mr V Peterson (Department of Correctional Services Corporate Services Acting Deputy Commissioner) stated that overtime expenditure ran to over R200 million in 2003/4. Overtime cost projections for 2005/6 were as high as R1.2 billion. These funds could be used to fund the necessary appointments to bring about the seven-day establishment. The seven-day establishment was further necessitated by the implementation needs of the White Paper on Corrections.
Mr Peterson added that the 3000 employees that had been employed to date were employed for the purposes of bringing about a seven-day establishment. The figure of 3200 additional employees per annum noted in the previous year’s presentation was stated as 8000 employees to be employed between 2005 and 2008/9. These appointments had yet to be made, and would eliminate the general backlog in the Department.
Mr P Gillingham explained that the contracts applicable to the two privately run correctional facilities indicated that the Department had to pay the capital costs, plus the fee for the daily incarceration of every offender up to the maximum capacity of the prison. The value for money levels realised was not ideal, but the contract exit costs were prohibitive.
Mr Scheenmann asked what inter-cluster discussions had been taking place, and what resolutions had been adopted in order to solve the problem of having to release trial awaiting prisoners because of the inefficiency of the courts.
Mr N Ncame (Department of Correctional Services Intergovernmental Services Deputy Commissioner) stated that interaction between the JCPS Departments with respect to the problem of trial awaiting prisoners was being discussed in the Case Management Committee, which was chaired by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. It was also being addressed in the JCPS Cluster’s Overcrowding Task Team. Successes, thus far, were mainly in relation to easing blockages at local level. One of the measures implemented was to release trial awaiting detainees who could not afford bail of R1000 or less.
Challenges beyond the ambit of the Department of Correctional Services, that still needed to be addressed in this regard, included backing up criminal cases with sufficient evidence and exploring sentencing options other than lengthy sentences. A proposal drafted by the cluster Departments in conjunction with the National Treasury would be presented at the Cabinet Lekgotla to be held in January of 2006.
Ms J Fubbs (ANC) asked what the negative impacts on the work of the Department of Correctional would be should it not be able to roll out the Centres of Excellence in accordance with the White Paper on Corrections. She also wanted to know what precautions were prescribed to eliminate corruption in the recruitment process, and what the cost implications were for involving recruitment agencies. Noting that medical aid contributions by the Department were to be cut, Ms Fubbs asked when it would be done. Finally, Ms Fubbs asked for clarity on the spending priorities of the Department, vis-à-vis its direction and programmes, as they pertained to the training of offenders.
Mr V Peterson stated that the services of three recruitment agencies had been retained to receive job applications, to compose gross candidate lists and, in some instances, proposed shortlists. This was the first year in which recruitment agencies would be utilised. The issue of transferred opportunity for corruption was real. To this end the Department had requested full progress evaluation reports after the first six months, so that it could put extra measures in place if they were needed. The sheer volume of applications, especially for entry-level posts, necessitated the use of recruitment agencies.
Mr V Peterson further indicated that the non-contributory element of the Department’s employee medical scheme had been phased out over the last three years. Employees were no longer required to contribute one third of their medical aid costs. Assessments for salary adjustments were in progress
Both Ms Fubbs and Mr Scheemann probed whether the four new correctional centres were already under construction, or whether they were in the pre-construction phase when the unexpectedly high costs surfaced. Ms Fubbs also asked for clarity on the specifications of the new facilities.
Mr P Gillingham stated that the specifications decided on were arrived at through a consultative process which involved various other Departments, especially the Department of Public Works. The bulk earthworks for the new facilities were completed subsequent to the identification of building sites, but prior to the project tenders being finalised. The latter process was managed by the Department of Public Works. The bids received differed from the baseline estimates provided by the quantity surveyor at the Department of Public Works in excess of R200 million per facility. Other options would be considered subject to the report from independent quantity surveyors.
Mr D Bloem (ANC) asked whether any feasibility studies of the new correctional centres had been done prior to the commissioning of the bulk earthworks and the commencement of the tender procedure.
Mr Gillingham replied that feasibility studies had been done. Earthworks were done at three of the sites, as no work was required at the Klerksdorp sites. He emphasised that the delay in construction was caused by the unexpectedly large discrepancy between the baseline estimate provided by the Department of Public Works’ Quantity Surveyor and the actual tender bids that came in.
Mr D Botha (ANC, Limpopo) asked for an explanation of the underspending of R156 million in the Correctional Services budget for 2004/5.
Mr Gillingham indicated that the underspending occurred due to the delay in the building of the four new correctional centres.
Ms L Chikunga (ANC, Mpumalanga) asked for indications with respect to the costs, benefits and progress of inmate tracking system pilot projects running in Johannesburg and Durban-Westville.
Mr P Gillingham explained that specific problems were encountered with the bracelets in particular in the Durban-Westville project, but that both it and the Johannesburg pilot project were still running. R5.2 million in funds had been available, and an assessment team had been put together. A report was still forthcoming.
Ms Chikunga noted that the Estimates of National Expenditure for 2005 had indicated that the pilot project assessment was supposed to have been completed by May 2005 already. She asked what the costs involved in the delay were. She also asked for an explanation on the reported existence of untraceable bracelets to the tune of R7 million.
Mr P Gillingham offered to reply to Ms Chikunga’s questions in writing.
Submission by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Dr K de Wee (Department of Justice and Constitutional Development Chief Operations Officer) indicated that discussions dominating the JCPS Cluster agenda centred on capacity building, awaiting trial detainees, the implementation of the Child Justice Bill and the Children’s Bill, and infrastructure provision. The Criminal Justice review process referred to by the Minister of Finance in the MTBPS would look at legal and regulatory frameworks; the human and other resources capacity; coordination and management practices and processes; and integrated case management practises. Human resource constraints in the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development were largely due to high personnel costs, high staff turnover, and difficulties and delays in the filling of vacancies. In terms of the Department’s efficiency fast-tracking programme, Re aga Boswa, Court Managers had been appointed to free public law practitioners from administrative burdens.
The Department had spent 44% of its budget in the first half of the 2005/6 financial year. The Department had overspent significantly on Judges’ Salaries (66.6%), while overspending on transfers and subsidies (62.6%) was caused by the September month-end closure. While no explanation was offered for underspending on goods and services (32.74%), underspending of the capital budget (28.74%) was due to a large transfer payment yet to be made under Programme 5.
Mr Ralane asked what progress had been made with regards to improving the access to and modernisation of the justice system to better cater for previously disadvantaged communities, as well as in terms of case and people management as they passed through the system.
Ms Fubbs asked questions relating to personnel expenditure, the possible escalation of recruitment levels and the seemingly reactive approach to intra-cluster discussions.
Ms Chikunga asked what the current levels of the case backlog were, and whether these cases included Section 62F (of the Criminal Procedure Act) cases.
Mr Scheenmann asked how the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development interacted with the Department of Public Works around the construction of new facilities, and how the planning for capital purchases took place.
All the above questioners raised concerns over the low level of capital expenditure.
Dr de Wee stated that part of the reason for the low levels of capital expenditure was the shortage of personnel to deal with the matter. A Facilities Management Chief Director had yet to be appointed in the Department. He stated that a number of courts had been built to improve access, and offered to supply a written submission in this regard. The modernisation of the justice system was being addressed through a joint project with the National Treasury. The aim was to improve efficiency with regards to the management of monies in trust. By the end of November, proposals would have already been requested for consortiums to assist the Department with the management of monies-in-trust. The Department hoped to make an appointment by February 2006 in this regard.
Dr de Wee stated that there were important areas where the Department did not have sufficient personnel, such as in court management. It was to this end that 58 posts were advertised in the newspapers during the preceding weekend. Recruitment was also to increase in terms of improving access to justice, improving the organisational efficiency of the Department and the transformation of justice, state and society. Dr de Wee concurred with Ms Fubbs on the reactive interaction between the Departments of the JCPS cluster. The backlog in the appointments of new prosecutors in relation to the appointment of new police officers was just one example of this. He stated that the National Treasury had indicated firm commitment to assist in overcoming this problem. This would have very positive effects on case flow management within the Department.
The meeting was adjourned.
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