Department of Correctional Services & SAPS on Engendering Budget

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

Chairperson: Ms Preggs Govender

9 October 2001

Ms P Govender

Documents distributed:
Briefing document from the Department of Safety and Security
Submission by Department of Correctional services

The Department of Safety and Security briefed the Committee on 'engendering the budget'. An overview of the department was given in the following areas: organisational dynamics; the allocation, programmes and spending patterns in relation to the status of women; Social Crime Prevention in relation to the Quality of Life and the Status of Women; and Policies, Resources, Benefits and Initiatives relating to female employees within the department of Safety and Security.

The Department of Correctional Services submitted a report to the Committee. An overview of the programmes, structure and policies of the department was given focussing on issues relating to the quality of life and status of women.

Department of Safety and Security

Assistant Commissioner JA Jones of SAPS gave an overview of the Organisational dynamics of the Department of Safety and Security, its mandate and its mechanics. Commissioner Jones outlined the functions of the SAPS, the Secretariat for Safety and Security, the Independent complaints Directorate (ICD) respectively. Detail of the top structures of the department was also given, that is a breakdown of the members and the purpose of the Minister’s Committee; the executive Co-ordinating Committee (ECC); the Management Forum of the SAPS (Board of Commissioners). The document includes a breakdown of national and provincial SAPS profiles according to: police areas, police stations, sworn officers, civilian personnel, as well as police: population ratio.

Assistant Commissioner Schutte presented an overview of budget allocation, programmes and spending patterns related to the status of Women. Gender-related aspects are women in SAPS and women outside of SAPS. Comm. Schutte emphasised the integrated (multi-disciplinary) nature of combating crime, especially where women are victims. The difficulty of this is that it is not always possible to measure the specific aspects of safety and security, such as gender, in a ‘linear monetary fashion’. The SAPS vote is structured according to its programmes, which reflect the objectives of its mandate. A violent crime, such as sexual offence will intersect each of these programmes, such as visible policing (all functions of police stations) and detective services (investigation process).

Assistant Commissioner Pienaar, of the SAPS, gave an overview of the Social Crime Prevention in relation to women. The Chairperson requested that the presentation focus on budgetary considerations. Commissioner Pienaar explained that the SAPS approach to the Budget for Women provides a basic floor of services available to victims of rape and domestic violence, social crime prevention programmes and the special investigative capacity, such as. specialised units. Social crime prevention (SCP) concerns domestic violence, interdepartmental rape strategy, victim empowerment, prevention of fire-arm related violence and youth and rural safety programmes. Total allocation to SCP is R10.723 million, of that R5.663 million targets women, and R1.918 million targets children, specifically.

Divisional Commissioner Stander and Director Makanya gave a brief presentation on the policies and initiatives relating to female employees in the Department of Safety and Security. Policies had been implemented to support and empower women including promotion, education and training, HIV/AIDS, maternity leave, and special provisions for women empowerment and the removal of race and gender prejudice in the appointment and promotion process.

Rev Moatshe pointed out that it was a woman who designed the bullet proof vest. She then commented on the fact that the first page of the document, showing the structure of the Department of Safety and Security, only one woman versus four men occupied the senior positions. She said that there is a need for equal, not token representation. She wants to visibly see the change that has been spoken about, to see actual transformation.

The issue of national versus provincial implementation was raised. Joyce Moloi commented that although the programme is in place nationally what will happen provincially, citing the case where no gender person has been appointed provincially. Commitment to Cedo, and Beijing is one thing, but how is this actualised ? Another member said that she appreciated the changes that the SAPS has implemented but the realities in the rural areas do not reflect this, She asked what the positions of rural areas in these policies are.

Bernice Sono gave a specific example of a Soweto station where at a report of a rape, no lieutenant had been present, and the case had been written down in a notebook, and no counselling had been offered. She further emphasised the point that she appreciates the fact that policies are in place but requested specific mention of the types of problems of areas and particular stations, where 20 problem stations had been mentioned in the report.

The Chairperson thanked the SAPS for their presentation but expressed the Committee’s disappointment of the absence of National Commissioner JS Selebi. The Committee had set this date according to his availability and had expected his presence at this meeting. Ms Govender explained that the Committee had wanted to address issues of budget with Commissioner Selebi, as a representative of policy.

Ms Govender gave a list of questions and issues for the team from the department to address:
-How has the distribution of police stations, previously concentrated in predominantly white areas, changed?
-To what extent does budgetary allocation reflect the prioritisation of reducing crime against women and children. She commented that the budget of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) seems minimal.
-A request for critical performance indicators and outputs was made.
-To what extent has the employment equity target of 30% been met?
-A suggestion that programmes target not only women, but men as perpetrators of domestic violence.

It was decided that each Commissioner would respond as best they could to the questions that related to their particular areas; the more detailed, quantatitive questions would receive a written response.

Commissioner Singh quipped that oddly no woman was happy with the design of the bullet proof vests. She further explained that studies to advance the empowerment of women were only becoming functional now.

Comm. Jones addressed the Rev Moatshe’s question about upper departmental structure, saying that there was no control over the appointment of the top five officials, this was decided by the president or the minister. He explained that he had only intended to discuss the mechanics of the structure, not appointments.

Commissioner Schutte explained that the programmes of the SAPS were transverse in nature, infusing the entire system and translating into projects. The latter would in turn become more gender specific. A summary of provincial allocation was given. Police stations were being built in rurally disadvantaged areas, but it was not possible to give figures because it involved several interrelated structures. The Commissioner said that it had been an extraordinary year in terms of budget increases. Provincial and station increases make it clear that there are a number of resources available to deal with gender issues in a charges office, i.e. gendered issues would not be relegated to specialised units but would rather infuse the whole system. The Chairperson asked for evidence of what was happening on the ground. The Commissioner replied that performance indicators would be included in the next report.

Commissioner Stander said that there had been a number of serious problems in implementing the domestic violence act. An example was the need for training, where training had become an ongoing programme, and often retraining was required. Training had been allocated R720 000, but that this was not the only monies allocated since fees of trainers and facilities are provided for by the operational budget. Since the phenomenon of domestic violence is interconnected with the cultural the SACP has begun to focus on co-operation between the community and the police, making use of volunteers and community based crime prevention programmes. The issue of the ’20 problem area stations’ was addressed. It was explained that programmes were specific to stations, determined by the particular circumstances of a particular station.

Crime prevention programmes had begun to target men and young boys. To try to create positive role models programmes had been launched with Miss South Africa, and with various sports heroes.

Commissioner Pienaar (SCP) agreed that top positions are mostly occupied by men, and that these positions are occupied for a period of five years. Change is slow. In 1999 4% of females were on the directorate, by the 1 October 2001 this had increased to 11%. Concerning issues at the provincial level, Comm. Pienaar spoke about partnerships with schools to help prevent crimes, especially sexual offences in schools. Her colleague, Ms Annekke Pienaar of the Child Protection Unit, said that in rural areas it was not worth having separate CPU’s in rural areas, but instead specialised individuals had been appointed to deal with child protection.

The Chairperson said that all specific questions and issues that did not emerge during the discussion should be addressed in a written response. She thanked the team of presenters, led by Commissioner Singh. Ms Govender wished them strength in the many positive measures that had been taken by the department, however, she still conveyed her disappointment at the absence of Commissioner Selebi.

Department of Correctional Services
A presentation was given by Mr Tshivhase, acting Director.General. of Correctional Services and Chief Financial Officer, and Ms Makuza , director of equity. Mr Chivasa apologised for the absence of the commissioner, who had to attend a workshop in Johannesburg concerning the restructuring of prisons.

The presentation focussed on the paradigm shift from incarceration to rehabilitation. The long term goal of rehabilitation is crime prevention. The situation of women in the field of correction is being addressed, along with the core functions of the department: safe custody, humane incarceration and rehabilitation of prisoners. A recent audit revealed a lack of change in policies, systems and procedures. However, new initiatives to achieve equal treatment of women both prisoners, and employees, were in place.

Out of a total of 239 prisons, there are eight women’s prisons. There is a major overcrowding problem, with a total of 168 000 incarcerated prisoners, 50 000 of which are unsentenced, and accommodation for 135 000. One consolation is that the relatively smaller population of female prisoners means that there is no overcrowding in female prisons. In the new acts designated groups are given special attention, and have their rights provided for. Thus, the new parole board will make decisions informed by gender concerns, like the plight of incarcerated mothers who are separated from their children. The policy on mothers in prison has set up creches in prisons, for example Pollsmoor, but increases in budget are needed to enable this. Programmes of restorative justice are in place. There is a debate about 498 women sentenced for 6 months whether they should serve the full sentence or return to the community to do work there. There is also a programme to include victims in the criminal justice system, creating an alliance of victim, offender, and community, as part of a healing process. Health services are provided for pre- and post- natal care, as well as prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Up until now rehabilitation programmes tended to perpetuate old gender roles, for example training women in domestic skills. The new approach should become market- sensitive, giving women skills they can use on the outside. The main challenges were summarised: overcrowding, mainstreaming of gender issues, gender-sensitive cultural environment, victim empowerment programme, marketable training, changing the budget’s focus on incarceration to custodianship.

Mr Tshivhase spoke briefly on budgetary issues. About R 6.1 million had been allocated, although this was not the exact amount. He said that it was only possible to make projections for 2002-2003, but exact figures were available for 2001-2002. He spoke about the need to change the culture of the department from a male perspective. Much of the budget and policy change was directed towards increasing opportunities for female employees in correctional services, even in male prisons. He noted that the reaction of male prisoners to female warders was generally positive, where a woman was a addressed as ‘mom’, a title more in tune with a project of rehabilitation, than a man, who is addressed as ‘boss’, a title of harsher authority.

Sandra Botha raised the issue of HIV infection amongst prisoners. Another member asked about HIV/AIDS policy towards youth, as well as women, in prisons. Joyce Moloi asked what the role of correctional services was in terms of implementation of APOPS. If the process of appointment in the department does not implement that policy then it becomes meaningless. How does the department ensure gender is addressed during its appointment process?

Lorna Malony asked for more detail on budgetary allocation. What is the exact amount? She asked how does the budget deal with prison violence, and raised the relevance of a study done by the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation of women who are serving life sentences for killing their abusive partners: the Justice for Women Campaign.

Ms Govender raised several issues. She applauded the wonderful ideas in the presentation, however, said that these were contradicted by horrific stories of overcrowding, ill-treatment of boys, and male rape. The parole board should be given set criteria to institute gender sensitivity. She asked for figures showing the number of new prisons since 1994. Have the number of prisoners awaiting trial increased, and how many of these are women? She criticised the adaptation of a U.S system to South Africa in the form of SAQWA, a qualification for women, which was very racist.

The Department responded to some of the questions. Due to time constraints a written response would address the remaining questions. Mr Tshivashe replied that the problem of prisoners awaiting trial was exasperated by the lengthiness of the investigative process. The Department agreed to forward their policy document on HIV/AIDS, which includes statistics of infected persons. The accuracy of these statistics could not be confirmed as compulsory testing is unconstitutional. The Chairperson asked about the effectiveness of awareness raising projects, which offered condoms and voluntary counseling that had been shown to encourage voluntary testing. The department said that parole boards were representative and that a new method of assessment gave women priority when considered for parole. In relation to this, the Chairperson suggested that the Committee would forward the submission from the Justice for Women Campaign to the department.

The Chairperson requested the written response to be made within the next two weeks, since the Committee needed to finalise its report for submission to parliament in November. Ms Govender thanked the Department of Correctional Services. She said that their plans and ideas had the full support of the Committee. She acknowledged the need for rehabilitation to break the cycle of violence and crime, and to return prisoners to society.

The meeting was adjourned.


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