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JUSTICE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
21 April 1998
HEARING OF EVIDENCE AND DELIBERATION ON BUDGET VOTE FOR JUSTICE FOR 1998-99
Document handed out:
Presentation by Director General on Justice (Overview of 1997 achievements; NCPS, Budget; Personnel; Legislative Programme; SA Law Commission Programme; Draft Annual Report)
Adv.J.J Noeth S.C. presented a general overview of departmental achievements during 1997. The following are some points that the Director-General made in his presentation:
- Eleven former Departments of Justice have been amalgamated into one department.
- The Directorate appointed a Task Team for the de-demarcation of Magisterial Districts Boundaries in order to promote public confidence in the justice system.
- The South African Witness Protection Programme is still in its infancy, but protections increased from 40 to 550 during the past two and a half years. The total amount that will be spent on this programme for 1997-1998 will be about 20 million.
- A control system for police dockets involving lock-up facilities and a register provided to all prosecutors has been successfully introduced throughout the country.
- The Department of Justice launched an intensive campaign (the Campaign for the Prevention of Violence against Women and Children) which comprised of two facets: facilitating internal workshops with magistrates and a public education campaign.
- The "fast track" training project of prosecutors begun in June 1997 (involving one year of intensive training under 12 tutors at 12 magistrates courts) appears to be a huge success.
Mrs Camerer (NP) asked the Director - General whether there is money set aside for tracers, with regard to maintenance, because tracers are effective. The Director- General stated that this needs more investigation by the S.A. Law Commission. That there are problems with the maintenance system itself but it will be looked into during the year.
The next point on the agenda was the 1997/98 budget presentation by Mr Ebrahim (a facilitator) and Mr H Isaacs from the Directorate of Budgets. The original allocation for 1997/1998 was R1812,147 million and the expenditure was R2104,205 million.
Questions that arose from the 1997/998 Budget:
Mr. De Lange asked about the meaning of the following terms: Add: Allocation and Less: Suspension. Mr Isaacs stated that additional allocations are those allocations for structures such as Gender Commission, Legal Aid and Witness Protection Services. Suspensions are functions that are transferred to other departments, for example, Correctional Services.
Mrs Camerer inquired why the variance under Equipment was so large, 49,7%. The Director-General replied that these were the funds that were originally allocated to the MCPS for computerisation , communications etc.
Mr De Lange inquired whether there were any explanations necessary to the Auditor General for misused expenditure? The Director - General replied that there were no enquiries whatsoever and the Department of Justice's report was very clear and handed in timeously.
Mr Nkambule (Chief Director : Financial Administration) presented the 1998/1999 budget. He made the following points:
- That there was an increase of 16,9 % from last year’s budget.
- That the budget allocated for 1998/99 is 2117,947 billion.
- He explained under the In Depth Analysis for 1998/1999 Budget that the expenditure on core functions is R1 617, 337 billion and the non-fixed balance is R180, 401 million:
In-Depth Analysis of 1998/99 Budget
Budget Allocation (R'000) 2,117,947
Less: Judges' Salaries 108,696
Less: Other Bodies 391,914
Core Functions 1,617,337
Less: Personnel Costs 1,309,998
Less: NCPS Projects 16.880
Other Operational Costs 290,459
Less: Fixed Commitments 110,058
Balance: Non-Fixed 180,401
Mr H Ebrahim gave an analysis of expenditure and made the following points:
- That existing staff is not sufficient.
- The department is looking at ways to make itself more functional.
- That the Department of Justice after all its other expenditure only has an amount of R63 million for delivery.
The last point on the agenda was the Auditors report on the Legal Aid Board. The following points were highlighted by the auditors:
- The last published report by Auditors- General of the Legal Aid Board was in
- That there were some problems that arose from the 1995/1996 report:
- There were no guidelines for internal checking and control
- That there was not adequately provided for the creditors and debtors.
- The Bank reconciliation statements were not updated.
- The Financial statements were not acceptable according to general accounting practices.
- The Auditors also gave reasons for this being so:
no guidelines as to financial management
staff not adequately trained.
Recommendation made by the Auditors:
- Staff need to be properly trained
- Financial guidelines instituted
- Sound management practices should be implemented
Mr De Lange asked Dr Pretorius, from Legal Aid Board, for these inadequacies to be dealt with within three months and then an audited report would be undertaken.
The meeting was adjourned.
FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION BUDGET 1997/98 AND 1998/99
The purpose of this paper is to give a snap-shot of the budget of the Department with the intention to empower the portfolio committee members with the necessary background information and to invite questions from them in preparation for the budget debate.
The presentation will deal with the 1997/98 budget by comparing it with the expenditure and thereafter a brief exposition of the three years MTEF budgets running from 1998/99 through to 2000/01 will be made. The 1998/99 budget will be compared with the 1997/98 financial year. Another important aspect which will be covered is the comparison of the budget with the allocation to the Justice Cluster, i.e. Justice, Correctional Services, and the South African Police Services.
At the end of this presentation each branch manager will make a brief presentation of the activities, programs and projects on which these funds are going to be spent.
2. THE 1997/98 BUDGET AND EXPENDITURE.
The 1997/98 original budget was R1 812 147 000 and an additional amount of R 385 933 000 was allocated by the Treasury Committee. R 43 842 000 was suspended from the Department's budget and transferred to the departments which inherited the functions which were performed by the Department on agency basis. Therefore the adjusted budget amounted to R 2 154 238 000.
The total expenditure on the above budget amounts to R 2 118 216 000 which leaves a balance of R 36 022 000, as at 08 April 1998 (subject to change due to the fact that our books are open for three months to take care of other entries and possible adjustments and corrections).
A full analysis of expenditure against the budget is displayed on the table marked "Annexure A". This table gives a breakdown of expenditure according to standard items.
3. THE THREE YEARS MTEF BUDGETS.
The department has been allocated budgets for the 1998/99,1999/00, and 2000/01 financial years in terms of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework as follows:-
1998/99: R2 117 947 000
1999/00: R2 406 560 000
2000/01: R2 657 779 000
The above scenario reveals the fact that the budget is projected to grow by 13,6% in 1999/00 and by 10,4% in 2000/01. When one takes into account that inflation and an increase in demand for services motivated by factors such as population growth have not been taken into account, it is evident that the Department will be faced with a very limited budget over the coming financial years. This will require re-prioritisation and belt tightening.
The allocation to the Justice Cluster is increasing from year to year, however this is not visible because of the fact that the allocation made to the Department is still lagging behind as compared to the share of other partners in the cluster. The following scenario shed some light in this regard:-
MTEF BUDGET ALLOCATIONS
Department - 1998/99
Justice: 2 117 947
Corr. Services: 4 493 181
SAPS: 13 709 314
TOTAL: 20 320 442
Justice share: 10.42%
Justice: 2 406 560
Corr. Services: 4 934 082
SAPS: 14 498 146
TOTAL: 21 838 788
Justice share: 11.02%
Justice: 2 657 779
Corr. Services: 5 397 009
SAPS: 13 709 314
TOTAL: 23 235 680
Justice share: 11.44%
It is clear from the above that the Department is not receiving a fair share from the cluster and this results in a situation where it is unable to dispense cases at a rate that is acceptable and proportionate to the other cluster partners i.e. correctional services and the SAPS. This matter is currently receiving attention in the cluster forum where an attempt is made to re-align the budgets and projects of the cluster to achieve synergy. This exercise will ensure that there is proper relationship among the budgets of the cluster partners, which will facilitate efficient delivery of service.
In addition to the above amounts the Department of State Expenditure has offered R300 million to the cluster from the policy reserve to enable the cluster to fund projects which were not funded from the main budgets. The distribution of these amount was left to the cluster partners.
4. THE 1998/99 BUDGET ALLOCATION.
The Department has been allocated a budget of R 2 117 947 000 for the 1998/99 financial year as stated above. This shows an increase of 16.88% from the 1997/98 financial year's original allocation of R 1 812 147 000. This might be convincing on face value that there is an increase in the budget, however if we consider that the adjusted budget for 1997/98 was R 2 154 238 000 then one can state without doubt that the budget did not increase at all, instead it has decreased by 1.7%. The document marked vote 21" gives an exposition of the budget as stated in the printer's proofs and the presentation is according to the standard items and economic classification.
The economic classification of the budget reveals the following:-
CURRENT: R1 711 325000
CAPITAL: R 21 941 000
TRANSFER PAYMENTS: R 384 681 000
TOTAL: R 2117947000
The above scenario reveals that the Department utilises 80.8% of its budget on operational expenditure, 1% on capital expenditure, and 18.2% for transfer payments. This is a very skewed position which needs attention because basically it implies that the Department is not allocated enough resources to bring about development.
The above stated problem will be alleviated by accessing part of the R 300 million offered to the cluster. The department is also attempting to access part of R 100 million offered by the Department of State Expenditure from the policy reserve for the improvement of personnel and financial systems.
5. DETAIL (IN DEPTH) ANALYSIS OF THE 1998/99 BUDGET OUTSIDE THE PRINTER'S PROOF.
In addition to the analysis in 4. above, the following break-down of the budget is revealed:-
Less: Judges' salaries 108 696
2 009 251
Less: Funds earmarked for commissions and other self-accountable bodies: 391 914
TRC reparations programme: 100 000
TRC: 21 904
Human Rights Commission: 13 233
Legal Aid: 222 903
Public Protector: 7 438
Gender Equality Commission: 10 244
Special Investigative Units: 16 192
Funds available for the Department's core function: 1 617 337
Less: Personnel expenditure funds: 1 309 998
Funds available for other standard items to fund core functions and support
services: 307 339
The above analysis implies that the Department has R 307 339 000 for other operational expenditure, excluding personnel expenditure, to run approximately 550
sub-offices which are mostly magistrate/ court offices.
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