Hansard: EPC: Debate on Vote No 18 — Correctional Services
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 20 May 2015
No summary available.
EPC – NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 Take: 7
WEDNESDAY, 20 MAY 2015
PROCEEDINGS OF EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE — NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in the National Assembly Chamber at 15:01.
House Chairperson, Ms M G Boroto, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
Debate on Vote No 18 — Correctional Services:
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Chairperson of the House; hon Members of Parliament; Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, Mr Thabang Makwetla; Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr John Jeffrey; Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, Dr Mathole Motshekga; acting National Commissioner of Correctional Services, Mr Zach Modise; Head of the Judicial Inspectorate of Correctional Services, Justice Thembile Skweyiya - and congratulations to you on your recent appointment; Chairperson of the National Council of Correctional Services, Judge Siraj Desai; Chairperson of the Medical Parole Advisory Board, Dr Ramathesele; distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen; ex-offenders and parolees present here, all are welcome. It is a great honour for me to have this opportunity to account to this august House on work done with the budget allocated in the 2014-15 financial year, as well as to outline our plans going forward.
Allow me a moment to remember the passing on of Isithwalandwe, Me Ruth Mompati, who departed this life this month. Her leadership and character will continue to inspire us to work harder to realise the ideals outlined in the Freedom Charter, which she, together with many heroes and heroines of our movement, strived for.
We must also bow our heads in honour of the eight officials that tragically lost their lives in an accident in Swellendam on 5 May 2015. They embodied the character of an ideal correctional official, as articulated in the White Paper on Corrections; and we wish the injured official who was also involved in that accident a speedy recovery. These are true Africans whose lives must be celebrated together with the marking of Africa Month, during which we reaffirm that we are African.
Co-ordination within the Peace and Security Cluster has improved and continues to impact positively on the work of Correctional Services. This affirms the wisdom of integrating under the one Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services, which this portfolio has become.
Collaboration between criminal justice partners has resulted in continued down-management of remand detainees, which contributes towards a more humane incarceration of inmates, from 47 192, in March 2012, to 42 901, in March 2015. The number of sentenced and remand children has decreased drastically. In the 2009-10 financial year, 497 children were awaiting trial, while 538 children were sentenced, compared to 129 awaiting trial and 243 sentenced in the 2013-14 financial year, respectively.
The National Development Plan, NDP, implores us to invest appropriately and to build comprehensive partnerships to close the proverbial revolving door by limiting the chances of offenders relapsing into a life of crime. We will introduce measures for tracking rates of recidivism which, currently, have not been scientifically determined.
The delivery of correctional services is a labour-intensive enterprise that survives and thrives through its staff. Our focus is to ensure sufficient capacity to handle complex offender rehabilitation and development issues. Our staff is the catalyst in correcting offending behaviour to help build a safer society.
During my walkabout in correctional centres throughout the country, I observed ineffective recruitment methods, which we now need to address. We will therefore launch a four-month recruitment campaign, aptly named, Operation Hira/Qasha/Thapa/Thola, which will contain the following deliverables: Firstly, building partnerships with academic institutions, sector education and training authorities, Setas, other state organs and professional bodies for heightened collaboration in accessing databases of qualified people with scarce skills.
Secondly, each regional commissioner and branch head will be expected to sign a performance agreement to reduce their vacancy rate by at least 80%.
Thirdly, recruiting 3 096 unemployed youth for our learnership training programmes at our colleges to contribute to fighting youth unemployment, and building hope and trust in a better South Africa.
Finally, organising a series of job fairs across the country to expose unemployed youth to career opportunities within Correctional Services.
The department exceeded its target of training officials by 48%, from 16 500 to 24 548. We will train a further l8 000 officials this financial year.
We have made progress in administrative leadership stability in Correctional Services. A chief financial officer assumed duty on l April 2015. Interviews for the positions of a National Commissioner and Chief Deputy Commissioner for Strategic Management have been conducted and the recruitment results will be announced in due course. The filling of other management positions is at an advanced stage, as well.
Using state-of-the-art technology to improve the efficiency of our correctional system is seen as a critical game changer. In this regard, there are a number of projects which will help us ride the waves of technological advancements.
We have secured services for phase one of the installation of body cavity scanners in 14 correctional facilities, this financial year. This will help minimise the smuggling of unauthorised items into our facilities. In November 2014, we unveiled a new audiovisual system installed in 53 correctional supervision and parole boards, nationally. This innovation brings services closer to the people and helps in bridging the digital, distance and poverty barriers to victim and community participation in parole hearings. We will continue to improve its utilisation going forward.
The introduction of the ground-breaking electronic monitoring ystem, EMS, which was launched in July 20l4, marked another milestone in modernising the Correctional Services. Cumulatively since its roll-out, 1 009 people were tagged. Currently, 604 persons are monitored by this system. The EMS has enabled the department to effectively track an offender or an awaiting-trial person, effectively, on a 24-7-365 basis. During the 2015-16 financial year, at least 1 000 people are tagged at any given time.
The current parole dispensation has been in operation for almost a decade. I have deemed it necessary to review the parole system to, among others, strengthen, firstly, the recruitment and retention of highly skilled professionals, like criminologists and psychologists, to boost the capacity of the correctional supervision and parole boards, CSPBs; secondly, victim and community participation and empowerment with a more proactive stance to ensure their involvement in parole hearings; thirdly, partnerships with institutions of higher learning, including the University of SA, Unisa, and the University of Johannesburg, to assist in developing a scientifically proven risk-assessment tool which is offence specific, to support the decision-making processes of parole boards, and capacity-building programmes for CSPBs; and finally, capacity-building programmes for CSPBs and introducing mandatory programmes that cover, amongst others, interviewing techniques, motivational interviewing skills, restorative justice and victim support services.
During the 2014-l5 financial year, progress was made in advancing victim participation in the parole system, in line with the Criminal Procedure Act and the Correctional Services Act. These Acts provide a framework for the consultation of victims of crime in parole considerations. Our commitment is to ensure effective social reintegration with more involvement by victims, families and communities.
We highlight the increased parolee and probationer compliance levels in South Africa. Of the 71 623 daily average community corrections caseload, 51 634 are parolees and 18 545 are probationers whose compliance levels are at 98% and 95,92%, respectively. This was done through the establishment of community corrections satellite offices, as well as service points managed in collaboration with stakeholders. These interventions help build credibility and public trust in the system, increasing more noncustodial sentencing by the judiciary.
We know that restorative justice was the hallmark of the African traditional justice system, which sought to repair harm caused by crime in human and social relations. For over a decade now, government has championed the implementation of the restorative justice model as an integral part of broadening access to justice and enhancing active citizenship across the criminal justice continuum.
In order to improve victim and community participation at various stages of corrections, the department introduced victim-offender mediation and dialogue. Thus far, 1 541 victims and 3 738 offenders have participated in these restorative justice initiatives in the last financial year, alone. We plan to increase these levels to 6 000 victims in the 2015-16 financial year through a comprehensive and electronic database of victims, driving a national awareness programme and empowerment of victims of crime. This is in line with our new policy thrust that seeks to bring the victims back to the centre of the criminal justice system and take them away from the periphery of the system.
Corrections is key to building a healthy nation. Hence, we ensure humane conditions in our centres. I have worked together with the Minister of Health to align our efforts to address the country’s disease burden, which is as much a responsibility of Correctional Services as of other key role-players.
The President declared a three–year, intensive campaign to eliminate tuberculosis, TB, which is rated as the leading cause of deaths from natural causes in South Africa. We have pledged to work in tandem with every role-player to ensure that a 90-90-90 target is achieved in respect of testing, placing of inmates on treatment and improving the TB cure rate, thereby building on our current TB cure rate of 83%. The strategy includes a continued roll-out of the GeneXpert TB test and digital x-ray machines as well as short message service, SMS, printers that deliver fast and reliable results to enable speedy interventions. On the HIV and Aids front, there are demonstrable, positive results, as 79% of the inmates in our care have undergone counselling and testing sessions.
In November 2014, I established a task team to revitalise and conclude on political prisoners. The task team has taken stock of the scope of the work, starting with the restorative justice elements of the programme. These include victim and family consultations, as well as engaging nongovernmental organisations, NGOs, and political parties affected. The known applicants are those who have completed their sentences, those placed on parole and those still incarcerated. The work of the task team will be completed in due course, after which the Ministry, in consultation with the Presidency, will give an update to the people of the Republic.
Public confidence and trust in the country’s correctional system is critical for the creation of enduring partnerships between state and civil society. We cannot allow the continued negative audit findings to place doubts on our commitment to clean governance.
A turnaround strategy is being consulted with various key players to turn the tide. This covers the restructuring of the finance branch, tightening asset management, and improving internal control measures in order to resolve audit qualifications on assets in 2015-16 and to achieve a clean audit within this term. Expenditure on consultants has been reduced by 55% from R170 million in 2009-10 to R76,8 million in 2013-14. This translates to a R93,8 million reduction.
The department’s stance of zero tolerance towards corruption is well known. Over the past few years, Correctional Services has been rated as the third best institution of government with the appropriate working capacity to deal with corruption.
The department continues to build on its achievements of the first two decades of freedom and reached a 95% conviction rate last year at its 49 disciplinary hearings against officials fingered for fraud and corruption. The department dismissed 19 officials after these hearings, most of which were concluded within three and six months, despite delays caused by officials who tried everything possible to avoid facing disciplinary processes. Three of the 47 officials who were found guilty resigned; 13 received sanctions, including suspension without salary as alternative to dismissal; and 1l received final written warnings.
The acid test for the country’s correctional system is the successful social reintegration of offenders as law-abiding citizens. To this end, the department has successfully partnered with state agencies and departments, nonprofit organisations, academic institutions, NGOs, and other relevant external stakeholders to broaden the scope and reach of interventions to correct offending behaviour.
In the 2014-15 year, these partnerships have led to 76 parolees being employed permanently by the Working on Fire programme. To smooth out offender reintegration, 212 parolees and probationers were provided with start-up tools to enable them to open their own businesses and thereby contribute to employment creation. These partnerships are expected to add more employment opportunities for parolees in the current financial year, and further partnerships will be built.
The employability of ex-offenders is a key indicator of successful reintegration. In numerous interactions, former offenders who have remained law-abiding citizens for years have raised the matter of criminal records and their detrimental effect on successful social reintegration. Given that the 2008 amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act, which came into effect in May 2009, has effectively seen its sixth year this month, it is perhaps time to open the dialogue on a possible further amendment that will give more offenders a second chance in life. The idea is not to compromise public safety but to enhance it as an overriding drive. In this regard, I will be convening a national consultative conference on criminal records this year.
One big challenge in South Africa is food insecurity. This challenge tends to reflect the historical spatial development patterns and racial dimensions. The overwhelming majority of inmates belong to the lower rungs of the socioeconomic make-up of our society. This means the supplier communities have similar deficiencies. Our facilities are making good progress towards self-sufficiency and sometimes constitute an island of affluence in a sea of poverty, relative to the surrounding communities.
Correctional centres will adopt a particular community and share their expertise in food production developed over the years. They will teach communities modern and advanced methods of food production and expose unemployed youth to technical skills, such as furniture-making, motor vehicle repairs and construction. Each management area must ensure that its centres are an integral part of the integrated development plans of municipalities and provincial administrations.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to address the House. I hope our plans will enjoy your favour. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Dr M S MOTSHEKGA
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
Dr M S MOTSHEKGA: Hon Chairperson; hon Minister, Michael Masutha; Deputy Minister, Thabang Makwetla; outgoing Inspecting Judge of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services, Jics, Judge Vuka Tshabalala; incoming Inspecting Judge, Thembile Skweyiya; acting National Commissioner, Ntate Modise; Chairperson of the Medical Parole Advisory Board, Dr Ramathesele; hon Members of Parliament, the ANC supports this Budget Vote and hopes that the hon Wilmot James will not lead his faction out of the House, this afternoon. [.]
The ANC inherited a brutal penal system consisting of prisons, not correctional facilities. Prisons were specially and ideologically designed for retribution and political repression, rather than for correcting criminal behaviour. The institutional, violent culture and legacy bequeathed to us has meant that there are many challenges that we have had to contend with now. These are foremost, the challenges of overcrowding and recidivism.
Overcrowding is an old problem that was inherited from the apartheid regime. Incarceration rates per 100 000 of the population has greatly improved under the ANC-led government. For instance, in March 1983, there were 105 634 prisoners out of an estimated population of 24 million in South African prisons. I am not making these numbers up. This is the figure given by the apartheid Minister of Justice, Mr H J Coetzee on 25 April 1983 in the House of Assembly, this House. This 1983 figure translates to a ratio of 424 prisoners per 100 000 of the population. This excluded the homeland areas of the time.
The present number of people in South Africa’s prisons is 155 000 prisoners out of 54 million South Africans. This translates to a ratio of about 290 per 100 000 of the population, about half the population in prison in 1983, when considering the population size. We realise that these numbers are still high and support the Department of Correctional Services in implementing its White Paper on Remand Detention Management in South Africa, particularly section 49(g) of the Correctional Matters Amendment Act of 2011, and section 63(a) of the Criminal Procedure Act, which both - is that a walkout? - seek to minimise the time spent in remand detention for remand detainees. The committee also supports the department on expediting electronic monitoring, as this may help to ease the prison population.
Recidivism is also a product of nonexistent rehabilitation and social reintegration programmes under colonial and apartheid governments. For the colonial and apartheid governments, rehabilitation meant slave labour on privately-owned farms and in mines. For the ANC-led government, it means enrolling eligible inmates into education and meaningful skills-acquiring programmes which will contribute to their social reintegration. In the medium term, the Department of Correctional Services aims to enrol 80% of eligible inmates into educational and skills programmes..
The ANC-led government has worked hard to try and transform South Africa’s post-apartheid penitentiary in a manner that reflects the ethos and values of a free society and the Constitution. We have introduced legislation and policies that seek to transform the prison into spaces of corrections, rehabilitation and social reintegration. This has been a progressive task, starting from the Constitution, legislative interventions and policies, which seek to guarantee the human rights and dignity of inmates. Through the passing of the Correctional Services Act, in 1998, and the adoption of the White Paper on Corrections and the White Paper on Remand Detention Management in South Africa, in 2011, South Africa now complies with the international agreements and best practice standards on the rights and treatment of inmates.
To ensure that the ANC is serious about this transformation, the Judicial Inspectorate of Correctional Services, headed by a retired judge, was established, to play an oversight role and to report on the conditions of imprisonment in correctional and remand detention centres. We wish to thank the outgoing judge, Justice Vuka Tshabalala, for the role he has played over the past three years. We welcome Justice Thembile Skweyiya as the new head of Jics. [Applause.]
Given the oversight role that the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services plays over the Department of Correctional Services and on the conditions of imprisonment, it is important that, over the medium term, its financial and administrative independence is reviewed with the aim of improving its effectiveness and efficiency.
Of key focus to this Budget Vote is the cumulative implementation of the Seven-Point Transformation Plan of the Criminal Justice Review, and the National Development Plan, as articulated in the Medium-Term Strategic Framework of 2014-19.
The strategic plan and annual performance plan of the Department of Correctional Services are aligned to the NDP and the Medium-Term Strategic Framework. The department linked its strategic objectives with specific outcomes of the National Development Plan. These are the outcomes.
On the economy and employment, the department could create more jobs through filling its vacancies and improving its effectiveness and efficiency. On improving education, training and innovation, the provision of education and skills-based training of inmates could contribute to rehabilitation and social reintegration initiatives. On promoting health, the department is obliged by law to maintain humane conditions of incarceration. It could contribute to this obligation by improving the health care of inmates and limiting exposure to communicable diseases ...
Hon House Chairperson, I’m happy that even our traditional howlers today were impressed by this Budget Vote and they behaved well. We welcome that change. Thank you very much. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
Mr J SELFE
Dr M S MOTSHEKGA
Mr J SELFE: House Chairperson, I would like to begin by associating ourselves with the condolences that the Minister extended to the families of the officials who died or were injured in the horrendous car accident near Swellendam.
The position of the Department of Correctional Services in the criminal justice system is grossly undervalued. The Department of Correctional Services is not directly mentioned in the NDP, and rates only in a footnote in the Seven-Point Transformation Plan. The department is also undervalued by the portfolio committee. Only twice this year has the department been invited to brief the committee. That, in our view, is a further reason why there should be a separate parliamentary committee for correctional services.
Yet, the department must house, feed and guard people whom the courts have sent there for safe-keeping. It must correct offending behaviour and rehabilitate offenders who are very often violent and antisocial. Slightly more than 42 000 staff members of the department perform this dangerous and often thankless task. We wish to thank them and, particularly, those who work in the sections and the centres for a job well done.
Unfortunately, there are still many officials who steal rations and who smuggle drugs and cellphones into prisons. Yet, according to the annual report - and the Minister referred to it - only 82 officials were charged with theft, bribery, fraud, corruption, or any combination thereof. We know that the figure is much higher.
Recently, Mr George “Geweld” Thomas, a member of the 28s gang was convicted for multiple murders, some of which were committed on his instructions while he was in prison. According to testimony in the trial, he made 33 000 cellphone calls, planning crimes while in prison. This would not be possible without the assistance of corrupt officials. Those officials are accomplices to murder. They need to be found, arrested and convicted.
We repeat our call to block all cellphone calls from prisons. If they can do it for Parliament, they can do it for Pollsmoor Prison. [Applause.] We can find these officials and punish them, but the situation needs to be tackled holistically.
At the moment, despite commendable efforts by officials, most offenders emerge from prison more criminalised than they were on admission. This is because of a combination of understaffing and overcrowding at centre level, which creates a situation in which gangs thrive and officials can be corrupt. It is a situation in which proper rehabilitation becomes impossible.
The staff working in the centres have to cope with serious overcrowding. Over two thirds of our prisons accommodate more inmates than they were designed for. Some, like Polokwane, Mossel Bay, Grootvlei Medium A, Thohoyandou Medium B and Mdantsane, are more than 200% overfull. That means inmates share beds and sleep on the floor. That does not conform with section 7 of the Correctional Services Act that the hon Motshekga said puts us in line with international best practice.
We simply have to reduce the number of people who have to be locked up. Let there be no doubt. Violent and dangerous offenders should be locked up and very securely for a very long time - but not all offenders belong in prison. A prison sentence, however short, is likely to result in that person losing his or her employment; remaining unable to find employment again due to criminal records; being stigmatised; in broken relationships; and, frequently, being coerced into joining a prison gang and participating in its activities. It is no surprise, then, that the levels of reoffending are so high.
That does not mean that people who break the law should not be punished, but the punishment need not involve imprisonment. There must be a suite of alternative, noncustodial sentences that can be handed down, particularly for nonviolent, first-time and young offenders. There must be ways of releasing people whose bail is less than R1 000. Less crowded prisons lessen the influence of the gangs and promote effective rehabilitation. In that respect, we welcome the Minister’s announcement of a conversation around second-chance legislation. We believe that a criminal record is a powerful inhibitor to people being reintegrated into society and we would encourage that conversation.
The most effective way of releasing people responsibly is to use electronic monitoring mechanisms, which were announced with great fanfare a year ago. The project then ground to a halt because of allegations about the procurement of those devices. We were told that the matter, which allegedly involved the department’s chief operating officer, was being investigated. That was over a year ago. Minister, what has happened to that investigation? When will its findings be released?
We also need to increase staff at the centres. The department has slightly more than 42 000 funded posts. On average, there are about 160 000 inmates in prison on any given day. That works out to a 1:4 official to offender ratio, which is very good by international standards. However, that is certainly not the ratio in the centres. The reason is that there are too many administrators at head office, at the regional offices and at the area offices. There are not enough officials at the sharp end of the business, looking after inmates. Despite years of talk about the migration from administrative posts to the centres, there has been far too little action. This is being worsened by the seven-day establishment. I think we need to admit that the seven-day establishment hasn’t worked. What it has led to is further understaffing, particularly over the weekends. The effect of the shift system combined with annual leave and sick leave can mean that less than one third of the staff in any particular centre are actually on duty.
Ultimately, sooner or later, all offenders will be released back on to our streets. If the Department of Correctional Services fails in its task, those offenders will reoffend. If we want to break the cycle of crime, we need to ensure that the Department of Correctional Services is properly resourced and that the resources are employed in the right places for the right purposes. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms H O MAXON
Mr J SELFE
Ms H O MAXON: House Chairperson, the EFF objects to Budget Vote 18 of Correctional Services and believes that there is nothing correctional about its allocation. The department’s mandate is to ensure that those that exit the correctional services are rehabilitated individuals who can be reintegrated into society. Yet R13 billion is allocated to incarceration and only R1,2 billion on rehabilitation.
It is no surprise that the repeat offenders’ rate is so high. The budget allocation on the maintenance and the wellbeing of incarcerated offenders, which includes health care, nutrition and hygiene, is even more shockingly low. Very few of the educational programmes for child offenders have been reregistered as fulltime schools, let alone met the norms, standards or targets set in relation to inmate participation.
The targeted 11 372 participants seems ambitious and unrealistic. If the department’s ultimate performance indicator will be the number of offenders successfully integrated into society without reoffending, then why does it spend the least of its budget on social reintegration? It simply defeats logic, but the ANC-led government has mastered the art of talking left while walking right. The objective is to rehabilitate and reintegrate into society. Yet, the department’s own budget allocation intends to spend more money on incarceration, against its own objectives of rehabilitation and reintegration programmes.
It comes as no surprise that this department of supposedly correctional service is the champion of poor performance and instability. There are over 2 000 vacant posts at senior management level, including a National Commissioner and Chief Deputy Commissioner in strategic management. Moreover, it is 9,6% behind its spending. Where is the good story to tell, good people?
We must transform correctional services by including compulsory education and training for all prisoners. However, this won’t happen if more money is allocated to incarceration.
At least 29,5% of the current prison population are in jail simply because they could not afford bail for as little as R1 000. This directly contributes to overcrowding in jails. We have raised this in the justice committee and we are raising it again here. The bail system must be abolished. The bail system must fall.
The Correctional Services Act must be amended to incarcerate people per crime, with the creation of specialised, separate prisons, separating awaiting-trial and petty crimes prisoners from dangerous offenders.
We must consider other correctional systems that worked in other countries, like Sweden. Through its corrective systems, Swedish prisons have reduced their population from 5 722 to 4 500 out of a population of 9,5 million. This has even forced government to close some prisons. We must learn from these countries.
Of course, this can only be possible if the private ownership of jails is ended with immediate effect - which I doubt will happen, because we love capitalism in South Africa under the ANC-led government. There is clear evidence of the failure of privately run prisons, which cost more. Often, certain companies like Group 4 Securicor, G4S, with questionable business interests ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Mhlonitjhwa! Mhlonitjhwa! [Hon member! Hon member!]
Ms H O MAXON: There is nothing corrective in this budget. Hence, the EFF cannot support its plan. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Prof C T MSIMANG
Ms H O MAXON
Prof C T MSIMANG: House Chairperson, the people in a country which is sometimes referred to as the crime capital of the world tend to look to their institution of correctional services for the secure incarceration of offenders, their rehabilitation and, for those who are released, their reintegration into society.
The IFP experiences that this is a far cry from what happens on the ground, since the department is one of the most poorly run in government. There have been over 1 115 complaints, a high number of suicides, and over 10 719 cases involving the use of force. The department’s emergency support teams also need to reviewed, as they failed to implement recommendations for improvements made in 2013. Assaults on inmates are also rampant, yet there is no clarity as to whether these are mostly done by officials or inmates, and there are no internal investigation reports.
The Auditor-General’s report for 2013-14 is very damning. In fact, it is littered with disclaimers and qualifications. For instance, there was no trace of tangible capital assets worth R73 million, whilst systems of financial and risk management and internal controls were not maintained. Correctional Services employees were also found to be involved in remunerated work outside their employment without written permission from the relevant authorities. In some cases, they failed to disclose business interests in contracts awarded by the department which went to family members or partners. The lack of leadership within the department has ensured that inaccurate reports on financial information were submitted to the national department, which continue to expose major weaknesses in the financial processes.
Overcrowding in our prisons is appalling. We can concede that this is aggravated by the failure of the Department of Public Works to deliver new facilities on time. However, the Department of Correctional Services should put more pressure on Public Works to deliver because, at the end of the day, it is the Department of Correctional Services that bears the brunt. Continual overcrowding within prisons is responsible for many ills, including the spread of communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis, HIV and Aids.
Violence is also prevalent, specifically sexual assaults on vulnerable offenders, as the Department of Correctional Services lacks the capacity to screen for offenders who are vulnerable to assaults and, thus, does not protect them. On top of that, it is still unclear as to whether any investigations had been reported to the police and what those outcomes were.
This is a labour-intensive department, where strict management is imperative to eliminate maladministration. Yet, the department is not winning the fight against corruption. The very large number of vacancies also contributes to the department’s poor performance, with some key posts remaining vacant for up to two years. Without proper personnel in strategic positions, the department will continue to fail to meet its objectives. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Mr S C MNCWABE
Prof C T MSIMANG
Mr S C MNCWABE: Chairperson, hon members of the House, distinguished guests, Minister and Deputy Ministers, honourable judges present here, including the hon Judge Skweyiya ...
... ngizwile uSihlalo ebala uBab’ uMshengu, ubaba obamele bonke abamnyama abakhona. [... I heard the Chairperson mentioning Mr Mshengu, the man who represents every black person present.]
The budget for the Department of Correctional Services is one of the few that increases year on year. Yet, it remains one of the more troubled departments on which we have to vote for budget approval. The allocation of more than R20 billion is substantial and requires stringent, transparent and accountable management. The allocation of 18% of the total budget to the administration of the department is, in our opinion, excessively high, particularly since the department is very vague on how the money is to be prioritised and spent. We are concerned about the unrealistic targets the department has set for its administration programme and the lack of clear outcomes against which the outcomes of this programme can be measured.
We also express our concern at the continued problems surrounding the maintenance of infrastructure, despite the large amount made available to the department, on a yearly basis. Coupled with the persistent overcrowding experienced not only by those convicted but also by those awaiting trial, we urge the department to use the R13 billion it has allocated for the incarceration programme wisely to address the serious challenges of crumbling infrastructure and perpetual overcrowding it faces.
The NFP shares the concern of the portfolio committee with regard to the lack of commitment the department is showing towards the rehabilitation and social reintegration of prisoners who have served their time incarcerated in correctional facilities. It is in the interest of our country, as a whole, that every effort must be made to rehabilitate and successfully reintegrate former inmates. We need to do whatever is necessary to reduce the number of inmates in our correctional institutions and encourage former inmates to become well-adjusted members of our society. In light of this concern, we urge the department to reconsider its approach to the funding of rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, in future.
In conclusion, despite our expressed concerns, the NFP has no reason to reject this budget, as long as it will be used wisely. Thank you.
Ms M R M MOTHAPO
Mr S C MNCWABE
Ms M R M MOTHAPO: Hon House Chairperson; hon Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Adv Masutha; Deputy Minister responsible for Correctional Services, Mr Thabang Makwetla; Minister Naledi Pandor, other Ministers and Deputy Ministers; chairperson of the portfolio committee, Dr Motshekga, and hon members of the portfolio committee; executive management and personnel of the Department of Justice and Correctional Services and Jics; stakeholders of the Department of Correctional Services; ladies and gentlemen; fellow South Africans, I greet you.
Let me start by conveying my condolences, as has the hon Minister, to the families of the eight correctional officials who were killed in an accident. We also wish the two officials who were critically injured in the same accident a speedy recovery.
Let me now mention the highlights of the Department of Correctional Services. The appointment of the chief financial officer, CFO, and the internal audit committee, for the first time, will go a long way towards improving the financial management and internal control environment of the Department of Correctional Services.
Let me respond to the hon Selfe on the issue of overcrowding. The Department of Correctional Services intends reducing overcrowding by 3%. [Interjections.] Let me tell you, it is not true that the portfolio committee is undervaluing correctional services. We visited and did oversight ... [Interjections.] ... at the Matatshe and Kutama Sinthumule Correctional Centres in Limpopo. Unfortunately, the DA members were called back because, as usual, you know the DA has its own things and issues. [Interjections.]
On the issue of overcrowding, the hon Selfe knows very well that there are tools in place to fast-track court trials. He knows of section 49(b)(g) of the Correctional Matters Amendment Act and section 342(b)(a) of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1997, as amended. There is an obligation, of course, to investigate any delays in the completion of proceedings which appear to be unreasonable and may cause substantial prejudice. There are also efforts by the department to include upgrading of existing facilities to create an additional 518 bed spaces in the 2015-16 financial year and 4 787 bed spaces by the end of the 2017-18 financial year.
Our President, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, in his state of the nation address, announced the launch of a programme to fight TB and the spread of infectious diseases among inmates in correctional and remand centres. In 2014, the focus had also been on the area of health care for the prevention of HIV infection among inmates. Hon Maxon Hlengiwe, I only call you honourable because I am compelled to. [Interjections.] I don’t even want to waste my time ... [Interjections.]
Ms H O MAXON: On a point of order, Chairperson ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Maxon, what’s your point of order?
Ms H O MAXON: What does that mean when she says that she is calling me honourable because she is compelled to?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): I believe that you can discuss that later.
Ms H O MAXON: But she is saying that here, on this platform, Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, please.
Ms H O MAXON: No, you must be neutral, Chair, when you ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): That is not a point of order.
Ms H O MAXON: No, it is a point of order. She can’t just insult me and get away with that. She must clarify ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Maxon, I did not hear any insults. Thank you. Continue, hon member.
Moh M R M MOTHAPO: Ke a leboga mohl Modulasetulo. [I thank you, hon Chairperson.]
Mr M G P LEKOTA: On a point of order, Madam Chair, please. Please, Madam.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Lekota?
Mr M G P LEKOTA: Please Madam, sustain the decorum of the House. We are all expected in this House to address members as “honourable”, not because we feel like it, but because it isso - unless we have evidence to the contrary. The speaker there cannot say, “I am just saying it because I am compelled to.” [Interjections.] Otherwise, all of us will be dishonest with each other ... [Interjections.] No, she must withdraw that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, hon Lekota. Hon member, the Rules of this House compel us all to call each other “honourable members”. The point of order that was raised was, why? - and I can’t explain. That is why I am saying we will talk about it later, but every member of this House is honourable. Thank you very much. Continue, hon member.
Ms M R M MOTHAPO: Hon House Chairperson, the hon Minister Masutha has stated categorically that ...
Mr M G P LEKOTA: Madam Chair, please, Madam. The speaker on the floor ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Lekota, you are not recognised. Please sit.
Ms M R M MOTHAPO: The hon Minister has categorically stated that the positions of National Commissioner and Chief Deputy Commissioner, CDI, strategic management ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Mothapo, please take your seat. Hon member?
Ms N V NQWENISO: Chairperson ...
Utata uLekota ucele ukuba esiya sithethi sirhoxise intetho yaso. Phambi kokuba aqhubekeke, kufuneka ukuba arhoxise laa ntetho. [Tata Lekota asked the speaker to withdraw her statement. Before she proceeds, she must do so.]
She is not compelled to, but there is a “must”. She must withdraw. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, I think I have ruled on that issue and I gave my reasons why I don’t follow your instructions. Can we please continue and if there is anything, please, you know what to do. Continue, hon member.
Ms M R M MOTHAPO: Ke a leboga [I thank you.]. I was saying, the hon Minister Masutha has categorically stated that the position of National Commissioner and ... [Interjections.]
Mr M G P LEKOTA: On a point of order, Madam Chair ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Lekota, you are recognised. Hon Mothapo, please sit.
Mr M G P LEKOTA: Madam Chair, procedure ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Lekota, on what point of order are you rising?
Mr M G P LEKOTA: I rise on a point of order: The present speaker must withdraw what she said that she is not calling this lady “honourable” because she is honourable, but only because she is compelled to. I appeal to you, Madam Chairperson, she must withdraw that comment. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Lekota, I think I explained myself. Please sit down, hon Motshekga. You are not recognised. I think I explained myself as to why I don’t call for a withdrawal. I don’t have to go back to that. Please can we continue with the debate?
Ms M R M MOTHAPO: Thank you. The hon Minister had categorically stated that the positions of National Commissioner and CDC: Strategic Management have been advertised ...
Ms H O MAXON: Chair ...
Ms M R M MOTHAPO: ... and the candidates will be notified in due course.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Mothapo! Hon Mothapo, would you please sit? Thank you. On what point of order are you rising, hon member?
Ms H O MAXON: Chairperson, I rise on the very same point: I am being undermined by this person. [Interjections.] If you continue ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Maxon ...
Ms H O MAXON: Chair, if you continue to allow this ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Maxon, can you stop with that ...
Ms H O MAXON: ... we have no problem with insulting all of them. We are capable of doing that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Maxon ...
Ms H O MAXON: We are appealing to you, as the Chair, to be neutral when you are chairing ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): I think I explained ...
Ms H O MAXON: ... because you are not the ANC’s Chairperson, you are the Chairperson of this House ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member ...
Ms H O MAXON: ... and we are equal to you - all of us! -but if you continue chairing the meeting ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, would you please sit!/
Ms H O MAXON: ... rest assured, we are going to insult them. It is just a warning.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member - wait, hon Mothapo, take your seat. Hon member, I don’t want to take this into a debate. The issue is, when you raise points of order, raise points of order. Don’t start debating and giving some explanation. That is why I ruled the way I did - and you cannot come here, hon member, and now do the same and say, “This person”. I am not going to entertain that, I am allowing the debate to continue, please. [Interjections.] “This person” - we are all hon members. Please learn to raise points of order and you will be responded to. Thank you very much. Continue, hon member.
Ms M R M MOTHAPO: Hon House Chairperson, if we have safe and secure correctional centres, we will be able to ensure that our people are safe from criminals in the community. This will be in line with the National Development Plan’s vision and target for 2030 for building safer communities. The vision for the NDP is that all people living in South Africa should feel safe at home, at school and at work, and they should enjoy a community life free of fear. Women should be able to walk freely in the streets and children play safely outside.
As the ANC, we support this budget of the Department of Correctional Services which is in the very good hands of the hon Masutha and the hon Deputy Minister Thabang.
Re re mošito o tšwela pele bjalo ka mehleng. O tla no dula o tšwela pele; bahloi le bagadikane ba tla tshwa mare le ge re sepela. Ke a leboga. [Legoswi.] [Tšhwahlelo.] (Translation of Sepedi paragraph follows.)
[We say the beat goes on as usual. It will go on and on. Our rivals will have to learn to deal with it. I thank you. [Applause.] [Interjections.]]
Dr P J GROENEWALD
Ms M R M MOTHAPO
Dr P J GROENEWALD: Agb Voorsitter, ek wil vir die agb Minister sê dat ek vir hom agbare noem omdat ek verplig is om dit vir hom te sê. Die Minister openbaar baie duidelik dat daar dubbele standaarde is wanneer dit by parool kom. Ek wil dit dadelik baie duidelik stel. Niemand keur dit wat Clive Derby-Lewis gedoen het goed nie en hy moet tronkstraf daarvoor uitdien - maar as dit kom by die paroolaansoeke, hang die politieke onderrok van die Minister uit.
As ons byvoorbeeld na die geval van Schabir Shaik gaan kyk, sien ons dat hy maar twee jaar en nege maande van sy vonnis uitgedien het en toe kry hy mediese parool. Hoekom? Hy het buitengewone hoë bloeddruk. So, hy is eintlik ook terminaal. Dit is eintlik wat gesê word as ons na die wet gaan kyk, maar hy gaan speel gholf; hy gaan doen sy inkopies. Met sy hoë bloeddruk, gaan speel hy ook gholf met sy hoë vriende in hoë poste. Dit is hoekom hy parool kry.
Nou kom hy en doen aansoek dat sy mediese parool nou na gewone parool verander moet word. Hoe arrogant kan jy wees? Hy sê eintlik, met ander woorde, dat hy nooit eintlik iets makeer het nie, maar die parool word toegestaan.
As dit kom by Clive Derby-Lewis, sê die Minister dat hy in die eerste plek nie eintlik dokumente het, in terme van mediese verslae wat in die naam van Clive Derby-Lewis is nie, ten spyte daarvan dat die agb Minister presies weet dat Korrektiewe Dienste hom aangeraai het om nie onder sy eie naam in die hospitaal opgeneem te word nie – op aanbeveling van die departement. Die Minister kom hoogheilig en sê dat hy niks fout sien met Clive Derby-Lewis nie en dat hy nog vir homself kan versorg, waar hy in die gevangenis beweeg.
Hy is in die hospital, agb Minister, en u sit met ’n ou glimlaggie daar. U beïndruk my nie. U is ’n persoon wat dubbele standaarde toepas. U politieke onderrok sleep agter u aan soos ’n tooisel van ’n bruid. Dit is hoe dubbelsinnig u is en u het dubbele standaarde. U strek nie die Ministerskap tot eer nie.
Ek wil vir u sê ... (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Dr P J GROENEWALD: Hon Chairperson, I want to say to the hon Minister that I am calling him honourable, because I am obliged to call him that. The Minister is making it very clear that there are double standards when it comes to parole. I want to make it clear immediately. No one condones what Clive Derby-Lewis did and he must serve a prison term for that. However, when it comes to parole applications, the Minister’s political petticoat is hanging out.
If we look at the case of Schabir Shaik, for example, we see that he only served two years and nine months of his sentence and then got medical parole. Why? He has unusually high blood pressure. So, he is actually also terminally ill. This is what is actually being said when we look at the Act, but he plays golf; he goes shopping. With his high blood pressure, he also plays golf with his important friends in high positions. This is why he got parole.
Now, he is applying for his medical parole to be changed to normal parole. How arrogant can you be? What he is saying, in other words, is that there was never actually anything wrong with him, but he was awarded parole.
When it comes to Clive Derby-Lewis, the Minister says that he does not actually have documents in the name of Clive Derby-Lewis, in the first place, in terms of the medical reports, despite the fact that the Minister knows very well that Correctional Services advised him not to be admitted to hospital under his own name - as recommended by the department. The Minister comes with his holier-than-thou attitude and says that he does not see anything wrong with Clive Derby-Lewis, and that he can look after himself where he moves in prison.
He is in hospital, hon Minister, and you are sitting there with a little smile on your face. You do not impress me. You are someone who applies double standards. Your political petticoat is dragging behind you like a bride’s train. That is how ambiguous you are and you have double standards. You do not bring honour to the Ministry.
I want to say to you ...]
Dr M S MOTSHEKGA: Voorsitter, op ’n punt van orde: Ek wil net weet of dit parlementêr is om die Minister te dreig en ’n vinger na hom te wys. [Chairperson, on a point of order: I just want to know whether it is parliamentary to threaten the Minister and to point a finger at him.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member, please don’t point your finger at the Minister, and can you speak through the Chair?
Dr C P MULDER: Chairperson, may I address you on your ruling?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Yes, hon member.
Dr C P MULDER: Do we now have a ruling that we are supposed to put our hands in our pockets when we speak? [Laughter.] No, we don’t. I suggest that you allow the member to speak the way he speaks. That is his way and the hon Chairperson should listen, as well. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon members, can we please not point fingers at other members and can hon members speak through the Chair? Thank you very much. You can go on, hon member.
Dr P J GROENEWALD: Agb Voorsitter, ek wil vir die agb Motshekga sê dat hy deurmekaar is. As ek die agb Minister wou bedreig het, dan sou ek vir hom ’n vuis gewys het en vir hom gesê het ek sou hom regsien. As ek na die agb Minister wys, is dit hoe ek nog altyd praat in hierdie Huis en daar was nog nooit ’n probleem gewees nie. [Tussenwerpsels.] So, ek sê vir die agb Minister, ek sê nie dat ek hom gaan regsien nie. U moet die lyftaal reg verstaan. [Tussenwerpsels.]
Ek wil ’n beroep doen op die agb Minister om ernstig te raak. U is die persoon wat in die finale instansie oor parool besluit. U moet billik wees; u moet regverdig wees. As u dit is, dan sal u sorg dat Clive Derby-Lewis wel sy parool kry. Ek dank u. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Dr P J GROENEWALD: Hon Chairperson, I want to say to the hon Motshekga that he is confused. If I wanted to threaten the Minister, I would have shown him a fist and said that I would sort him out. If I point at the hon Minister, it is how I have always spoken in this House and it has never been a problem. [Interjections.] So, I am saying to the hon Minister I am not saying that I am going to sort him out. You need to understand the body language correctly. [Interjections.]
I want to call on the hon Minister to get serious. You are the person who decides on parole, in the final instance. You must be fair; you must be just. If you are fair, then you will see to it that Clive Derby-Lewis does, indeed, get his parole. Thank you.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE & CORRECTIONAL SERVICES RESPONSIBLE FOR CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
Dr P J GROENEWALD
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE & CORRECTIONAL SERVICES RESPONSIBLE FOR CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Madam Chairperson; our Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Adv Michael Masutha; hon Members of Parliament, in the interest of time may I respectfully acknowledge all distinguished guests at this budget debate this afternoon.
Many moons ago, the General used to be a very lovely gentlemen. I don’t know what is happening to him lately, that he is now waving fists from this podium.
The debate this afternoon on Budget Vote No 18 seeks to reaffirm our commitment as the ANC-led government to continue to strive for the realisation of the South African dream, as eloquently articulated in the renowned Freedom Charter which, to quote the inspirational legend of South Africa’s freedom struggle, Walter Max Sisulu, was adopted by the most historic multiracial assembly ever in South Africa, based on the demands of the people throughout the land.
The ANC, in its strategy and tactics document adopted in Mangaung, argues:
Whilst we made progress in transforming the state in terms of its representativity, orientation and its role, we continue to have challenges of state capacity, strategic coherence, the orientation of the Public
Service and the capacity to effectively implement policies of change and monitor and evaluate such implementation, thus impacting on our ability to decisively effect broader, social and economic transformation.
An ongoing priority of the Department of Correctional Services, which will characterise its work over this Medium-Term Strategic Framework period, is the endeavour to realise the vision of the White Paper on Corrections, as adopted in 2005. This new vision advocates for the positioning of the department as an establishment of centres for rehabilitation, community corrections and the successful reintegration of ex-offenders back into their communities.
In the intervening period, the department has made courageous efforts to strengthen strategies to: break the cycle of crime; strengthen security risk-management; provide an environment for controlled and phased rehabilitation endeavours; provide guidance and support to offenders within the community; provide corrective and development opportunities to offenders; enhance the productive capacity of offenders; promote healthy family relations; and assert discipline within the correctional centre environment, among others.
As the preamble to the White Paper correctly and patiently explains:
The main challenge of the Department of Correctional Services is to translate the vision of the White Paper on Corrections into operational activities, pertinent financial programmes that are appropriately financed.
This is critical work-in-progress as the department continues to fine-tune these programmes and develop a structure that is fit for purpose but which is also appropriately funded. The current budgets for rehabilitation and community corrections and reintegration are still woefully inadequate.
One common impediment to attaining efficient business management in all organisations is the absence of requisite information management systems. The Department of Correctional Services is one of the relatively big entities within our government administration. By its very nature, because it deals with human lives and safety and security, its business relies on volumes of information which must be reliable, accurate and available in real time for decision-making.
The department has identified the urgent need in this financial year to prioritise, among its support processes, the design and deployment of smart technologies for its information management systems. At the push of a button, for example, we must be able to establish which township in Soweto has the biggest number of inmates in our correctional centres, the categories of crimes they have been sentenced for, their age profile and the period in which those crimes were committed. This will go a long way towards assisting partnerships in crime prevention and community corrections.
At the top of our intra-departmental business value chain resides the remand detention function. One of the key indicators of the efficiency of the criminal justice system is the proportion of remand detainees to sentenced offenders. Experts acknowledge that when the ratio of remand detainees versus those serving sentences is high, the poorer the functionality of the criminal justice system is. In this regard, South Africa is on the right track, with remand detainees constituting 27% of the 159 163 inmates in our custody. This is below the global average of 32%.
With the resources constraints at hand, the department has commenced the implementation of the policy dictates of the White Paper on Remand Detention Management in South Africa. The department has commenced the roll-out of a special uniform for remand detainees. Thus far, 56 remand detention facilities have the requisite uniform. This initiative is the first in the history of corrections in Southern Africa. The remaining 59 remand detention facilities will receive uniforms during the three-year roll-out programme to ensure that security risks and hygiene challenges are eliminated.
The department has also introduced a risk classification tool in selected remand detention centres. The results of risk-profiling remand detainees will assist in ensuring that the detainees are properly housed and that vulnerable persons are better protected. Furthermore, we have great appreciation for the continuous reduction of remand detainees who have spent two years or more awaiting trial due to regular referrals to the judiciary.
Our mandate is to ensure safe and humane custody for inmates. There are clear indicators for our success or failure, in this regard. Rates of overcrowding, unnatural deaths, violence, including gang activities and escapes, are some of these indicators.
One important area of our work is infrastructure roll-out. It is crucial in determining the incarceration landscape in South Africa because it decides the extent to which the human rights of inmates can be observed and the extent to which rehabilitation and correctional intervention are realised.. Infrastructure delivery is decisive in ameliorating chronic overcrowding in our correctional centres. Regrettably, this programme continues to underperform due to a malady of managerial deficiencies and irregularities straddling both the Department of Public Works, as the implementing department, and the Department of Correctional Services, as the customer.
Since 2012, six contractors appointed by the Department of Public Works on major projects of the Department of Correctional Services have been liquidated. This has caused massive delays and cost overruns, affecting no less than 1 366 bed spaces, which by now, should have been at the disposal of the Department of Correctional Services.
Contractor competence was, in certain instances, overlooked in favour of lowest bidders, in spite of the complexity of the projects. Several large contracts were awarded to the same contractors, in some instances. Lengthy implementation timelines wherein projects initiated in 2009, in some cases, are still not implemented, in 2015; and tenders are allowed to lapse, in some instances twice or thrice, without being awarded in order for work to commence.
The South African dream will not lie in ruins. We dared to dream because, as a people, we are the product of a protracted, tenacious and selfless struggle for freedom. We were never delusional. We knew all too well that the march to conquer the next summit ahead would be just as tough and brutal as the one before. Every so often, the detractors of the governing party opportunistically seek to blame every wrong in our government bureaucracy on the ANC. I thank you, Chairperson. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr M G P LEKOTA
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE & CORRECTIONAL SERVICES RESPONSIBLE FOR CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
Mr M G P LEKOTA: Chairperson, all protocol observed. Some of us have been customers of this department for many years and may be able to throw some light on this matter. If our Correctional Services is to succeed in its task to reduce criminality and contribute to safer communities and a stable country, we must create conditions in which life outside of prison is more attractive than inside prison. I may just say, if, in prison, prisoners enjoy three, guaranteed meals and have secure accommodation, while the citizenry outside live in shacks that leak when it is raining, where there is no certainty of a meal in the morning for the father, the children, and so on, it will be neither intimidating and frightening nor uncomfortable to be a visitor of the department.
The first problem in this matter is that there is such a high level of unemployment in the country. Many of these young people who have no responsibilities are better off and find life better in prison. This is what they will tell you as you go into the townships and talk to them. That is the hard reality of it. Even if they try to steal an orange, or something, and get locked up, the departments must feed them. Look at this. Wwe are spending R66 billion to keep prisoners fed, clothed, and so on. We are doing that.
Now, people outside do not have access to those things that prisoners have access to. Hence, it is better for them. This is what they are saying, actually. They say that it is better to be in prison. We spent time with people in the prisons and these are the things ... So, if we do not deal with the issues of linked departments for them to complement each other ... They cannot work in silos. They have got to be linked with each other.
Then there is the question of administration. We spent R66 billion to keep the prisoners and R11,8 billion on administration. You know, the former Minister, Pravin Gordhan, constantly said it is so crucial that we cut down on the size of the administration, so that we direct the resources to the issues we have to address. However, if R11 billion goes to administration and only R66 billion to maintenance, you can see the balance is such that you can’t say you are giving priority to this.
The third point is this. What are we doing with the prisoners to prepare them for life outside jail? If they leave jail without some skill or other that they can rely on in requisite numbers to do something in order to survive, then they will get out today and be back the following day, I promise you. [Interjections.] Train them! That is what I am talking about. I am saying redirect the resources, not into your pockets but into training the prisoners. Educate them! Train them.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member ...
Mr M G P LEKOTA: Give them some skills ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member ...
Mr M G P LEKOTA: ... so that when they get out ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member...
Mr M G P LEKOTA: ... they have some skills to survive, outside. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon Lekota! [Interjections.]
Mr M G P LEKOTA: If you don’t do that ... [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon Lekota! [Interjections.]
Mr M G P LEKOTA: ... then of course you know ... [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon Lekota!
Mr M G P LEKOTA: ... you are preparing them to come back ... [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon Lekota, I am sorry your time has expired. [Interjections.]
Mr M G P LEKOTA: Oh! I am so sorry. I did not hear you, Chair. Thank you, very much.
Adv B T BONGO
Mr M G P LEKOTA
Adv B T BONGO: Chairperson, hon Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, hon Deputy Ministers present, Minister Naledi Pandor, thank you for your commitment to attend Parliament, Members of Parliament, distinguished guests and fellow South Africans, the Freedom Charter aspires to a South Africa in which the purpose of detention will not be punishment but re-education as a correctional measure.
However, it cannot be gainsaid that the Freedom Charter refers to detention of the tried, convicted and sentenced. Remand detention, on the other hand, is a more complex matter because the guilt of the detained is still to be determined or established by the courts. In other words, the presumption of innocence is strained by remand detention.
The hon Selfe raised some issues here before us. What I want to say is that we have heard the issues that you have raised, hon Selfe, but they are a plagiarism of the programmes that we as the ANC, have. They are also a plagiarism of what Justice Johann Kriegler decided in the case of S v R, 1949(1) SA 476(A). There, the learned judge had raised the issue of the two types of offenders - those who must be sent directly to prison and those who must still be reintegrated to society. So, your plagiarism is well accepted.
In response to what you have raised, we, as the ANC, have introduced the integrated justice system project. This entails the re-engineering of business processes throughout to fast-track the justice process, for example, from arrest to prosecution, and from prosecution to imprisonment, parole and rehabilitation.
Hon Selfe, we have five key integrated areas that we have prioritised. These are, inter alia, the prioritisation of integration of all departmental case-related systems in and across the police, the National Prosecution Authority, NPA, justice, Legal Aid South Africa and the Department of Correctional Services; the establishment of a single-person identifier across the criminal justice system; and the reprioritisation of the development and roll-out of the Person Identification Verification Application.
To the hon Maxon, who also refers to me as mkhwenyana [son-in-law], I cannot be your mkhwenyana [son-in-law]. [Interjections.]
Ms H O MAXON: Chairperson, on a point of order ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member, can you take your seat, please? [Interjections.]
Ms H O MAXON: Kuyahlonishwa emzini; hlala phansi. [The in-laws’ household calls for respect; sit down.] Hon Chair, I am not Maczon, I am Maxon. [Interjections.]
An HON MEMBER: Hayi [No], whatever! [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Continue, hon member.
Adv B T BONGO: To the hon Maxon, who also refers to me as mkhwenyana [son-in-law], I can never be your mkhwenyana [son-in-law], hon member. [Interjections.] [Applause.] How can a reasonable person of my status ignore the beauty and wisdom of this side of the House ... [Laughter.] ... for what I see there? [Applause.] How can a reasonable person in my position do that? It cannot be. However, hon member, on the matters that you have raised ... [Interjections.]
Ms H O MAXON: Hon Chair, on a point of order ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): What point of order are you rising on, hon member?
Ms H O MAXON: Chair, is the hon mkhwenyana [son-in-law] prepared for me to reveal what happened to that restaurant with that lady? Is he prepared?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member, can you sit down? Continue, hon Bongo. [Interjections.]
Adv B T BONGO: Hon member, do not be disingenuous. I want to address you on what you have raised here. I think I raised this matter yesterday - we do not have time to educate members on this side of the House. She refers to ... [Interjections.]
Ms H O MAXON: Ngithi, mkhwenyana [I say, son-in-law] ... [Interjections.]
Adv B T BONGO: She refers to ... [Interjections.]
Ms H O MAXON: ... please respond. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member, can you please ...
Ms H O MAXON: Hon Chair, can I reveal those photos now?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member ... [Interjections.]
Adv B T BONGO: Yes.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): ... please respect this House. Please! Hon Bongo, can you please carry on?
Adv B T BONGO: What I am saying is that she refers to the issue of Sweden and she says ... [Interjections.]
Ms M S KHAWULA: Sihlalo! [Ubuwelewele.] [Chair! [Interjections.]]
Adv B T BONGO: ... as the ANC we must ... [Interjections.]
Nks M S KHAWULA: Sihlalo! Sihlalo! Sihlalo iphuzu lokulungisa. Sihlalo mina bengithi ayingasukelwa iNingizimu Afrika sizodlala lana? Ngoba angazi manje ... [Ubuwelewele.] (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[Ms M S KHAWULA: Chair! Chair! On a point of order, Chair. Chair, I was saying that South Africa should not be mocked. Are we here to play? Because I am not sure what is going on now ... [Interjections.]]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): ... ayiyiyo ipoint of order. Siyacela ukuba mayihlonitshwe iNdlu yoWiso-Mthetho. Enkosi kakhulu. Qhubeka Lungu elihloniphekileyo. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): That is not a point of order. Let us please accord the National Assembly the respect it deserves. Thank you very much. Continue, hon member.]
Adv B T BONGO: Thank you, very much. She refers to Sweden, without knowing that the population of Sweden is 9 million. In South Africa, we have a population of over 54 million. So, you must do some research. Do not come here and just grandstand, you see? [Applause.] You and the hon Lekota ... [Interjections.]
Ms M S KHAWULA: Umkhomba ngesandla manje. [He is pointing at her now.]
Ms H O MAXON: Hon Chairperson, this member has a hearing problem.. In my speech, I said ... [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member! [Interjections.]
Ms H O MAXON: If he wants a copy of my speech ... [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member! [Interjections.]
Ms H O MAXON: ... I can give it to him. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Order! Can you please, hon members, please let us carry on with the business of the day? Carry on, hon member.
Adv B T BONGO: Thank you, very much. You see, as the ANC, we need to educate members on this side of the House that we do not speak about prisoners anymore. That belongs to the past - apartheid. We now speak about inmates because we have realised the need for reintegration. [Applause.]
Section 58 of the Criminal Procedure Act provides that when bail is granted, an accused who is in custody shall be released from custody upon payment of, or the furnishing of a guarantee to pay, the sum of money determined for the bail. He must then appear at the place and on the date and at the time appointed for his trial or the proceedings relating to the offence in respect of which he was released on bail.
So, bail is needed because of, inter alia, what is raised in section 65(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. This provides that everyone who is arrested for allegedly committing an offence has the right to be released from detention if the interests of justice permit, subject to reasonable conditions. Mohammed J, in 1991 in the case of S v Acheson, 1991(2) SA 805 (Nm), 1991 NR1 (HC), asserted that an accused cannot be kept in detention pending his trial as a form of anticipatory punishment.
As the ANC, we support this Budget Vote. We would like to thank all the men and women in uniform who continue to take the work of this department very seriously. [Applause.] We would also like to say that the challenges the department faces should not diminish the progress that we, as the ANC-led government, are making. Hon Chairperson, thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr S N SWART
Adv B T BONGO
Mr S N SWART: Chairperson, the ACDP would, firstly, like to join other parties in extending our deepest condolences to the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, families and friends of the eight officials who died recently in their tragic vehicle collision outside Swellendam. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
As many members have indicated, overcrowding in prisons remains a challenge, and is the root cause of health problems and the spread of diseases. We, in the ACDP, believe that sections 63(a) and 62(f) of the Criminal Procedure Act must be applied to release those particular awaiting-trial prisoners who are being detained at huge state expense and who do not present a danger to society. The question arises: When last were these provisions used and why aren’t they used when we complain about overcrowding?
Overcrowding also contributes to sexual abuse in prisons. We need to ensure that rape in prisons receives the serious attention that it deserves. The ACDP commends Sonke Gender Justice, Just Detention International and the SA National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders, Nicro, who have partnered to increase public awareness of sexual abuse in prisons - and those rape survivors who have told their stories. Much more needs to be done in this regard, however. Many wardens and prisoners are fully aware of what is going on. Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. Not to speak is to speak; not act is to act.
The ultimate measure of this department’s success is whether it succeeds in preventing reoffending. Regrettably, recidivism rates are not kept. This is inexplicable. Surely, we also need to spend more on rehabilitation? The underfunding in previous years has been reduced, but clearly, much more needs to be done.
We, from the ACDP, also support the Minister’s focus on restorative justice. This is an issue I raised for many years in my earlier years on the portfolio committee. Restorative justice, which is indigenous to South Africa, is something that needs to be promoted far more vigorously. We also support the Minister’s announcement about looking again at the whole issue of giving offenders a second chance.
In view of the security breaches and the high incidence of assaults and smuggling of contraband, the Department of Correctional Services should make better use of technology, such as closed-circuit television and cellphone-jamming devices. It is very interesting that the hon Vincent Smith is not participating in this debate. He has strongly promoted these issues and I would have liked to have heard a very experienced Member of Parliament also debating on this. However, we fully support his views, as well, and the committee has expressed its views, but no progress seems to be made, in this regard.
We also received a presentation from the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services. We still share the concerns expressed regarding the model. We suggest that alternative models need to be looked at, including the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. Let’s look at that model. It is not desirable that the inspectorate is dependent on the department for its funding. It must be an independent inspectorate to operate effectively.
Lastly, whilst this department faces many challenges, the ACDP wishes to thank all those conscientious managers and staff members who, under very difficult and dangerous conditions, diligently do their work in trying to ensure that offenders are kept in safe, secure and humane custody and undergo rehabilitation programmes. I thank you.
Mr M S A MAILA
Mr S N SWART
Mr M S A MAILA: Hon House Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Ministers present, hon Deputy Ministers, members of the House and all distinguished guests, let me start by indicating that the ANC supports the budget, as presented by the department. My focus will be on rehabilitation and social reintegration as programmes that may reduce recidivism and overcrowding.
It is a fact that a large portion of the budget addresses incarceration, as opposed to rehabilitation and reintegration. The current prison population and the fact that the Department of Correctional Services is labour-intensive are circumstances that influence the budget trends. This does not, however, imply that rehabilitation and reintegration are not important.
Sixty years ago, the people of South Africa made a call that all shall be equal before the law. The Freedom Charter provides that imprisonment shall only be for serious crimes against the people and shall aim at re-education and not vengeance. As a means of promoting this ideal, the Correctional Services Act was promulgated, followed by the release of the White Paper on Corrections in South Africa. This was the advent of a major policy shift. Rehabilitation and reintegration became a right rather than a privilege, dependant on the availability of resources.
The ANC, at its 53rd national conference, singled out recidivism as a problem caused by, amongst other matters, the quality of the rehabilitation programmes. The conference noted the correcting of offending behaviour as a societal responsibility. In the same breath, it resolved to mobilise communities to play a positive role in offender reintegration.
Rehabilitation should target correcting offending behaviour, personal development and developing a sense of belonging. It should be an undertaking by both government and civil society. While rehabilitation should make a mark on the reduction of crime, it should also result in the promotion of social responsibility, empowering inmates with skills and the willingness to participate positively in the activities of the community.
The department has internal initiatives aimed at correcting offending behaviour. These include correctional programmes, offender development, psychological work, social work and spiritual services. The department continues to implement these programmes and that is why, as the ANC, we support this budget.
Research on the success of these programmes to inform future planning is also of the utmost importance. We therefore urge the department that, whilst we engage in budget processes, we should also phase in the issue of research.
We believe there is still room for improvement, but there are some practices which are worth noting. As a means of improving offenders’ personal development through education, the department has established fulltime prison schools. There were 14 such prison schools in 2014, compared to only one in 2009. The matriculation pass rate in prison schools increased from 58,8%, in 2013, to 68,9%, in 2014. The Emthonjeni Youth Centre at the Baviaanspoort Prison obtained a 100% pass rate. This is commendable. Of course, this may not be the only tool used to measure success.
Reintegration is a process that should start during incarceration and continue after release. The department has put in place a cost-effective electronic management system, which will be implemented in line with constitutional imperatives. This will have a direct impact on the reduction of overcrowding. The system will enable the department to monitor the movement of parolees, people out on bail and those awaiting trial. The department is doing this under the guidance of the ANC. The ANC is leading and the rest are following, as always. [Interjections.]
The role of the community, in this case, is of the utmost importance. Successful reintegration should enable ex-prisoners to function well in society, to display acceptable behaviour and to avoid further conflict with the law. The stigmatisation and labelling of former inmates by community members does not assist the process. Government and civil society should embark on a joint effort to educate the community on their responsibilities. Offenders, on the other hand, should also be thoroughly prepared to make meaningful contributions to the community. We are making a call for the revival of the Moral Regeneration Movement, for the promotion of ethics, so that partnerships between civil society and government in the fight against crime can be enhanced.
Coming to the observations made by the hon Bongo, it is true that we should compare our systems with other countries. However, comparing should also take into account the fact that we should be able to compare apples with apples. We should be able to check the heterogeneity of the population of a country. We should be able to check the levels of poverty in a particular country so that we are able to make a precise analysis of what is happening. [Applause.]
As I said earlier on, the ANC is fully in support of this Budget Vote. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr N T GODI
Mr M S A MAILA
Mr N T GODI: Hon Chairperson, comrades and hon members, after listening to the Comrade Minister’s speech, the APC supports this Budget Vote with hope because the issues that are of concern to us are within his radar for attention. [Applause.] [Interjections.]
We want to support this budget with the confidence that, 12 months down the line, the department will be able to account fully for the funds under its management. [Applause.] It must be borne in mind, Comrade Minister, that for at least the last decade, the department has been receiving negative audit reports from the Auditor-General. Whilst improvements are noted, we are not out of the woods yet.
The APC appreciates measures taken to fill vacant posts. Leadership has been at the base of the management deficiencies in the department. There is a lack of stability, which needs to be stopped if the department is to make progress.
We appreciate the commitment to address negative findings. These findings are not new. They are repeats over a number of years, from asset management, misstatements in the financial statements, predetermined objectives, supply chain management, noncompliance with laws and regulations, poor IT-control frameworks, and expenditure management to deficient internal controls, etc.
We also support the continued decline in the use of consultants in running the affairs of the department. We must build capacity within public institutions. You would leave a positive legacy, Comrade Minister, if the department could achieve a clean audit under your watch. Parliament expects it, and the Public Finance Management Act requires no less.
The APC also passes on its condolences to the families of the officials who lost their lives in the line of duty recently, here in the Western Cape. We wish the injured a speedy recovery.
Lastly, the APC calls on Correctional Services officials to serve the public and the department with integrity and honesty, to shun corrupt activities, mismanagement and waste, and to report any noncompliance with legislation through the appropriate channels. I thank you! [Applause.]
Mr M H REDELINGHUYS
Mr N T GODI
Mr M H REDELINGHUYS: Madam Chairperson, our Constitution envisions a South African society built on freedom, fairness and opportunity for all. The Constitution, in its founding provisions – indeed in the very first section – captures this very spirit of our post-apartheid South Africa. The country that South Africans dream of must be founded on the values of human dignity, the achievement of equality, and the advancement of human rights and freedoms. These values – the very founding provisions for our nation – apply equally to every inhabitant in South Africa.
Unfortunately, even a cursory overview of the state and effectiveness of our correctional facilities and programmes reveals that this is not the case. Overcrowding, reoffending, assault, gangsterism and sexual violence trample on human dignity, making a mockery of equality, violating even the most basic human rights and undermining true and meaningful freedom.
There’s no two ways about it. Individuals who violate the law must be prosecuted, must receive a punishment that fits their crimes, and must serve the sentence that was imposed. We must hit hard against crime and even harder against its causes, which include poverty. We can rattle off statistics, and the members on my right can quote the law ad nauseam. The facts, however, speak for themselves: a persistently high vacancy rate; increased numbers of assault, escapes and unnatural deaths in detention; the failure to provide any new beds in any correctional facilities; and a negligible decrease in overcrowding.
It was noted in the portfolio committee meeting that the current budget allocation for the department does not differ significantly from the previous financial year’s allocation, which, in itself, means that some of the recommendations from different stakeholders and the committee itself have not been taken into account.
There are no significant shifts in this budget to suggest a values-driven correctional services approach that prioritises the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into society. The fact is that the budget still disproportionately focuses on incarceration. Indeed, the budget for rehabilitation programmes has been reduced. The social reintegration budget has been underspent, and the parole administration budget has also decreased.
If this Minister is serious about Correctional Services, he must put his money where his mouth is. There is a very clear misalignment between the priorities outlined in the White Paper on Corrections in South Africa and this budget, and this has been the case for many years. Yes, the White Paper - and the Correctional Services it envisions - is a journey. It is not simply an event. However, it is a journey that has yet to commence or, at best, is currently being undertaken in a skorokoro [worn and ragged vehicle]. [Interjections.]
Correctional Services continues to fail inmates, their families, their communities, and ultimately, all South Africans. Successfully rehabilitated offenders, where possible, should go back to their families, back to their communities and become fully reintegrated and contributing members of society. They, like all South Africans, deserve to be hard-working, freedom-loving members of communities who are given the opportunity to live and raise their families and children in safe communities; to support one another, work hard, play by the rules and reap the rewards of their efforts to build a country where all of us make progress together. This is, of course, the DA’s vision for South Africa - a vision that is equally applicable to the role, mandate and vision of correctional services that work. This is the DA’s offer to the people of our country, reaffirmed at our recent congress where we elected a new leader. A prison sentence should not be a death sentence that kills careers, destroys families and ruins futures.
Yes, we know about, recognise and appreciate the hard work, dedication and commitment of countless Correctional Services staff across the country. We also acknowledge and lament the appalling circumstances they have to work in and the significant challenges they face on a daily basis. These circumstances and challenges are not, and often not, of their own doing. They are the result of years of neglect, a lack of political will and the more recent demonstration by the ANC-led government that this department is a mere after-thought in the greater criminal justice system.
There is no evidence to support the notion that a single Ministry has resulted in any improvement towards a better, integrated criminal justice system. If this was indeed the case, the President would have thrown in the police and State Security while he was at it.
Of course, efficiency and actual delivery or progress was never consideration or the motivation behind the composition of Cabinet. The President and his friends wanted – no, they demanded – more Ministries, more Deputy Ministers, more jobs for pals, and a bigger patronage network to reward unthinking, uncritical, blind loyalty, as we often see, on the portfolio committee.
Indeed, in Parliament, where the merger of these two portfolios into one committee has taken place, it has had a disastrous effect on oversight, accountability and meaningful engagement with the department and officials. [Interjections.] It was to be expected! After all, less oversight, less accountability and less engagement is what the President prefers and wants. It is the example he has set throughout his tenure and in this House, when it comes to questions.
Minister, if I can request one thing from you today, it would be this. Go back to Cabinet, to the President, and ask him to end the protracted leadership instability and uncertainty in the department. We hope that you will inform him, request him to get on with the process and appoint, at the very least, a permanent Corrections Commissioner to take the long overdue step to turn around this department.
In conclusion, Correctional Services should be the final step in a truly integrated criminal justice system towards rehabilitation and social reintegration. It should not be the end of the road for offenders, their families, their communities or the victims of their crimes. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms M C C PILANE-MAJAKE
Mr M H REDELINGHUYS
Ms M C C PILANE-MAJAKE: Hon Chairperson, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services; the Deputy Ministers, the hon Thabang Makwetla and John Jeffery; all heads of entities of Correctional Services; Members of Parliament, sometimes when one comes into this House, one hardly understands how to engage, because people come here and, in the manner in which we engage on this debate, they are really supposed to approve the Budget Vote.
One hears all sorts of stories, hon Redelinghuys, talk about the Cabinet, talk about all sorts of things that have got absolutely nothing to do with this budget. [Applause.] You talk about leadership instability. Is it here? Is it in ... Sometimes you bring up the Hawks. Sometimes you bring up the SA Police Services, SAPS. We continuously tell you in portfolio committee meetings that this is beyond our mandate but that’s your line of discussion. You actually have this illusion of instability. There is no instability. We are moving South Africa forward. The ANC is continuing to work.
You cannot just come up with all sorts of assumptions. You know, as I listen to you, there are so many assumptions about a gang member in prison who had 30 000 calls. I ask myself What was the source. Hon Selfe, you come with assumptions. You want to convince the South African public that things are going wrong - on information that doesn’t have substance, at all. Let’s not operate our work on assumptions.
There are also assumptions that there are assaults in prisons which are not investigated. I think it is a member from the IFP. Everything that goes on in Correctional Services, including the executive, including the portfolio committee, which, by the way you are sitting on, is taken seriously. Have you ever raised it in the portfolio committee that there are assaults that are not investigated? [Interjections.] No! So, let’s not play games.
Really, hon Groenewald! Ag, ekskuus tog. [Oh, excuse me.] Why come here and point a finger at the Minister? You are so full of anger. You know, what confuses this House half the time is that people behave towards the business of Parliament ... and, by the way, this is serious business - business of the electorate that we are all representing here - but you come here with anger. [Interjections.]
Anger is not really going to deter us from continuing to do the work. We will continue to do the work. In this case, we will continue to support this Department of Correctional Services that is here to see to it that this mandate that they have been given - of really helping South Africa to correct crime by incarcerating people who have offended –will be carried out successfully.
As indicated in yesterday’s debate on the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development , South Africa, through the ANC-led government, is serious about fighting crime and corruption. It is a goal that is achieved at a high cost, from investigation and apprehension to trial and incarceration. [Interjections.] Of course. The budget of the Department of Correctional Services is R20 billion.
The hon Redelinghuys comes here and says that the amount of money that is being allocated is too small. I don’t understand why. Then, the hon Selfe comes here and asks why you don’t have interests in the Department of Correctional Services - and this is therefore why you don’t need them very often. These people are busy. You can’t keep on calling them in and out of Parliament when you don’t have anything substantive to talk to them about.
The budget is R20 billion. That has been increased, by the way, from the R19,1 billion that was given in 2015. The budget is distributed across programmes, as follows: administration, incarceration, rehabilitation and care.
May I also take this opportunity to welcome the Inspector-General of Correctional Services, Adv Skweyiya? Unfortunately, you have come to Parliament on this day when there is this kind of circus, but this is not what Parliament is all about. Parliament is about serious business.
We are looking forward to working with you, and we are not going to be deterred by negative comments that have been made about Jics, that is, that we do not take the independence of Jics seriously. We take it very seriously.
We understand the fact that half the time, everything in South Africa will be put forward as if everybody is supposed to be independent. Independent from what? There have to be rules, laws and regulations that actually govern everything. However, what the opposition does all the time is to try and advocate for independence - of course, with the hope of really managing to control this that may, sometimes, become independent. [Interjections.] No, I am not angry. [Interjections.] I am talking to you.
In terms of finances, we continue to commend the department for a reduction in the use of consultants. That is much appreciated. In terms of performance, the Department of Correctional Services is currently developing a turnaround strategy to deal with all challenges. The understanding or undertaking with the committee is that the strategy should have performance contracts linked with the turnaround strategy that the department is actually working on to guarantee revolutionising operations. We are quite worried about the fact that the department has actually managed to get a qualified audit. This is something that we are hoping will be corrected, especially with the impending appointment of the National Commissioner of Correctional Services. [Interjections.]
Alright, let me talk about the infrastructure development which we are expecting. When it comes to infrastructure development, we are quite worried about projects that have been delayed. However, what is important is to ensure that the prisons that were actually ... because now we are not talking about prisons, we are talking about correctional services. In the past, we had prisons that incarcerated our inmates under appalling conditions.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms S X Tom): Hon member, your time has expired.
Ms M C C PILANE-MAJAKE: For now, we are hoping that the infrastructure will be improved to make the situation humane ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms S X Tom): Hon member ...
Ms M C C PILANE-MAJAKE: ... and prisoners treated as human beings.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms S X Tom): Hon member, your time has expired.
Ms M C C PILANE-MAJAKE: The ANC supports the Budget Vote. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
Ms M C C PILANE-MAJAKE
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Voorsitter, die agb Groenewald het ’n briefie aan my gestuur en om verskoning gevra dat hy nie hier sal wees terwyl ek die eise wat hy gestel het, beantwoord nie. [Chairperson, the hon Groenewald wrote me a note apologising that he would not be here when I respond to the demands he had made.]
Nonetheless, I will say to him that, unfortunately, I will not take his challenge of responding to decisions that I made in my capacity as executing authority in the matter that he referred to, given the fact that the matter is before the courts on judicial review and is therefore sub judice.
What I would like to indicate to our hon colleagues on the left is that sometimes it is useful to focus on the issues and not just oppose for the sake of opposing. You know, I have been sitting on these benches for the last 16 years, and I have been trying to follow what informs the political stance, especially of the Official Opposition, when it comes to a range of issues that are debated in this House. To this day, the only thing I have learned about opposition politics in this country is that somebody has given you instructions, stern instructions to just come here and rubbish everything. That’s all you need to do, and nothing else. [Applause.] Sixteen years down the line, I am yet to hear something constructive - alternative, constructive ideas - that can assist this country to move forward. [Interjections.] Nothing.
Of course, as for the hon Lekota, his tone of voice rises and rises and rises, and one listens with anticipation, thinking that something of substance will emerge. Yet, all we hear is the proverbial Shakespearian expression, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. How sad.
An HON MEMBER: You’re eurocentric!
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Yes, I am eurocentric. You educated me well, hey? [Interjections.] I can speak my mother tongue very well.
Arali a tshi ṱoḓa uri ndi ambe nae nga Tshivenḓa ndi nga amba nga Tshivenḓa. [If he wants me to talk to him in Tshivenḓa, I can do that.]
I can speak your language, but you can’t speak mine. How sad! [Interjections.] However, let’s indicate this to the opposition. One thing which is particularly sad about you is that you speak in two tongues.
The President merges the two Ministries into one, and you complain. The President splits Ministries in order to have dedicated focus on certain priorities, and you complain. We introduce programmes that seek to move away from just dumping offenders into prisons and to focus on rehabilitation programmes, and you complain. We embark on programmes that seek to transform the socioeconomic conditions in this country, and you rubbish them.
What else will ever appease you that anybody does? [Interjections.] Yes, thank you for finally telling the truth. The only thing you are interested in is that the ANC-led government must lose an election ...
HON MEMBERS: Yes! [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: ... and you must take over and run ... Don’t get too excited like little children, now. Grow up a little bit. The only thing you are interested in is to take over political power ...
HON MEMBERS: Yes! [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: ... but listen! The electorate has already given you an opportunity in the Western Cape to prove yourself. What have you done? [Applause.] You have left this province in racial tatters. [Interjections.]
Where are black people in the Western Cape? Completely marginalised. What provision are you making for the historically marginalised? You are just perpetuating apartheid in the Western Cape. [Interjections.] Who wants apartheid to be applied throughout the whole of the Republic of South Africa?
An HON MEMBER: You!
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: We will not allow it, and the electorate of this country will never allow you to mess up the rest of the country the way you did to this province. I thank you. [Applause.]
The Committee rose at 17:10.
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