ATC140711: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on Budget Vote 24: Justice and Constitutional Development, dated 11 July 2014

Justice and Correctional Services

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on Budget Vote 24: Justice and Constitutional Development, dated 11 July 2014

The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, having considered Budget Vote 24: Justice and Constitutional Development, reports as follows:

1. Introduction

1.1. The Budget Vote 24: Justice and Constitutional Development comprises of five programmes, as well as a direct charge for magistrates and judges’ salaries. The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is directly responsible for the Administration, Court Services and State Legal Services programmes. Programme 4 contains the allocation to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA): Although the Director-General: Justice and Constitutional Development remains its accounting officer, the NPA accounts separately for its spending. Programme 5 contains allocations to various auxiliary services, including transfer payments to Legal Aid South Africa and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), as well as to two of the State Institutions Supporting Democracy – the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Public Protector (PP).

1.2. Notably, the Budget Votes for Correctional Services and Justice and Constitutional Development were previously considered by two separate portfolio committees: the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development and the Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services. Although in the new administration, the Departments’ of Correctional Services and Justice remain distinct departments with their own accounting officers, they are placed under a single ministry. In line with this, in the Fifth Parliament, this Committee has been mandated to oversee both departments.

1.3. Consideration of both Vote 21 Correctional Services and Vote 24 Justice and Constitutional Development, in the time available to it, has been a challenge. Nevertheless, the Committee has ensured that it engaged with all those that report to it on their strategic and annual performance plans, as well as the funds allocated for these planned activities. Also, as consideration of the Budget Vote is but one phase in the budget cycle, the Committee will have an opportunity to engage further with the Department, associated institutions and entities on their respective performance, spending and funding needs in the months to come.

1.4. The Committee supports the need to canvas the public’s views on performance to allow it to better evaluate the Department’s plans to deliver its mandate. Unfortunately, time constraints flowing from the parliamentary programme prevented the Committee from calling for submissions. It, however, intends to ensure opportunity for public participation on the budget in future.

2. Method

2.1. The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services presented an overview of the priorities that inform the policies and strategies for both Justice and Constitutional and for Correctional Services.

2.2. The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the National Prosecuting Authority, Legal Aid South Africa, the Special Investigating Unit, the Office of the Chief Justice, the South African Human Rights Commission and the Public Protector each presented their revised strategic plans for the 2014 MTEF, their annual performance plans for 2014/15 and their budgets for the 2014 MTEF.

2.3. The briefings took place as follows:

· Legal Aid South Africa – 3 July 2014

· National Prosecuting Authority –.3 July 2014

· South African Human Rights Commission –.4 July 2014

· Public Protector –. 04 July 2014

· Office of the Chief Justice –.8 July 2014

· Department of Justice and Constitutional Development –8 July 2014

· Special Investigating Unit -.10 July 2014

2.4. This report is divided in four parts:

· Part 1 gives an overview of the overall allocation to Vote 24 Justice and Constitutional development.

· Part 2 sets out key aspects of the Minister’s political overview; outlines key developments that impact on relevant policies and strategies.

· Part 2 also contains a summary of the Department’s presentation to the Committee, focussing mostly on its achievements in the previous financial year, the key planned activities for 2014/15 and its challenges. The Committee’s response is also included.

· Part 3 summarises the NPA’s presentation to the Committee on its strategic and annual plans and on its budget. Similarly, the Committee’s response to the NPA’s presentation is set out here.

· Part 4 contains a summary of the presentations of Legal Aid South Africa, the Special Investigating Unit, the SAHRC and the PP. The Committee’s discussion on the presentations is captured.

· Part 5 provides the Committee’s recommendation relating to the Vote.

2.5. All presentations referred to in Parts 2 - 4 can be obtained from the Committee Secretary.

Part 1

3. Overview of the Vote for the MTEF

3.1. The overall allocation to the Justice and Constitutional Development Vote for 2014/15 is R17.8 billion. However, an amount of R8.05 billion is allocated as follows:

· R3.25 billion to the NPA.

· R2.7 billion, which is a direct charge against the National Revenue Fund for judges and magistrates’ salaries (Although magistrate’s salaries show minimal real growth from 2013/14 the amount allocated for judges’ salaries decreases slightly in real terms.).

· R2.1 billion under Programme 5 Auxiliary and Associated Services are transfers: R1.46 billion for Legal Aid SA; R296.8 million for the SIU; R217.6 million for the PP and R128.1 million for the SAHRC.

3.2. The Justice Department’s budget for 2014/15 is, therefore, R9.8 billion which shows a slight real increase of 0.87 % from the 2013/14 allocation. The Department maintains that over the medium term there is little manoeuvrability within its budget, as the main cost driver is personnel.

Table 1: Budget allocation for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development per programme


(R million)


Real Increase / Decrease 2014/15

(R ‘million)

Real % change 2014/15




1 896.1

1 853.5

- 150.8

-7.95 %

Court Services

5 654.5

6 060.5


0.92 %

State Legal Services:



- 5.6

-0.64 %

Auxiliary and Associated Services:

Justice Modernisation subprogramme




25.55 %


9 148.4

9 800.6



4. Additional and reprioritised funding

4.1. Although, there is some additional funding to the Justice baseline in the amount of R618 million over the MTEF, delays in implementing a number of capital works and modernisation projects have led Cabinet to approve budget reductions of R1.4 billion over the MTEF (R508 million in 2014/15, R543 million in 2015/16 and R362 million in 2016/17). These budget reductions are set out as follows:

Table 2: Justice and Constitutional Development budget reductions over the MTEF






Goods and Services:

Cost Efficiencies

-R301 million

-R323 million

-R352 million

-R975 million

Capital Works Budget: Aligning growth to institutional capacity

-R207 million

-R220 million

-R10 million

-R438 million


-R508 million

-R543 million

-R362 million

-R1.41 billion

4.2. Over the medium term the additional funding from Treasury plus the re-prioritised funding from the budget reductions and savings set out in the table above are to be spent on the following items:

Table 3: Items receiving re-prioritised funding over the MTEF





Upgrading of 7200 clerical posts

R100 million

R110 million

R120 million

R313 million

Salary adjustments (cost of living increases)

R22 million

R23 million

R24 million

R68 million

Cost increases for accommodation leases and municipal services (incl. rates and taxes)

R200 million

R210 million

R310 million

R720 million

Appointment of Permanent Personnel

R237 million

R250 million

R265 million

R751 million

Transfers to Legal Aid SA and SAHRC (to increase capacity and for CJS projects)

R51 million

R53 million

R57 million

R161 million


R610 million

R646 million

R776 million

R2.01 billion

5. Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report 2013

5.1. The Money Bills Procedures and Related Matters Amendment Act 9 of 2009 empowers Parliament to make recommendations to the Minister of Finance to amend the budget of a national department. In October of each year, portfolio committees must compile Budgetary Review and Recommendation Reports (BRRR) that assess service delivery performance given available resources; evaluate the effective and efficient use and forward allocation of resources; and may make recommendations on the future allocation of resources. During the 2013 BRRR process, the Committee supported the Justice Department’s request for assistance with budgetary shortfalls in the following areas:

· Security of infrastructure, operations and personnel . The average annual spending of R428 million is against an available budget of R300 million. There are efforts to introduce savings in this area but the cost of providing security services at courts and other justice service points remains an unresolved funding challenge for the Department.

· Newly commissioned and completed infrastructure projects . Start-up costs for the infrastructure that will be finished in the MTEF period requires R255 million. Concurrently capacity needs to be expanded in the NPA and Legal Aid SA.

· Upgrading of clerks (levels 3 and 4 to 5; and levels 5 and 6 to 7)

· Establishment and capacitation of the OCJ . An additional amount of R191 million over the MTEF period is needed.)

· Transformation of State Legal Services . An estimated amount of R100 million is required over the MTEF.

· The costs of the Marikana and Seriti Commissions of Enquiry.

5.2. National Treasury , however, in contrast to previous years did not provide a specific response to the Committees funding recommendations but noted in general that: 'A number of committees recommended that additional budget allocations be made available for certain programmes, sub-programmes or other budget items. Where these recommendations are supported by the relevant departments when weighed against other priorities, they will be taken into account in future budget discussions .'

5.3. Consequently , while the re-prioritised funding from goods and services and capital works (of R508 million in 2014/15, R543 million in 2015/16 and R362 million in 2016/17) will assist the Department in funding some areas of budget shortfalls, additional funding to fund other priorities such as the transformation of state legal services or the Office of the Chief Justice has not been made available.

6. Policy developments

6.1. State of the Nation Address 2014

The President, in the 2014 June State of the Nation Address highlighted that although there has been some progress to reduce the levels of serious crime, they remain unacceptably high. Similarly, while there has been progress on the part of the Special Investigating Unit, Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT), Asset Forfeiture Unit (NPA: AFU) and Hawks (Police) to address corruption in society broadly and in the public sector, work will continue in the next five years. Weaknesses in procurement, management and operations systems that undermine the efficiency and effectiveness of government will be addressed, including the centralisation of procurement under the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer in the National Treasury and measures to prevent public servants and public representatives from doing business with the state. These will be supported by improved implementation of the Financial Disclosure Framework, strengthened protection of whistle-blowers, and the provision of technical assistance to departments for the effective management of discipline.

6.2. National Development Plan (NDP)

Going forward, Departments are expected to align planning with the NDP. In its operational plan for 2014/15, the Justice Department has aligned existing priorities with the NDP to address, in particular, chapters 11 (Social Protection), 12 (Building safer communities) and 15 (Transforming society and uniting the country), while the Department of Correctional Services has also linked certain objectives with chapters 3 (Economy and employment), 9 (Improving education, training and innovation), 10 (Promoting health), 12 (Building safer communities) and 13 (Building a capable and developmental state).

The following identified focus areas are of particular relevance:

· Strengthening the criminal justice system. The NDP highlights that preventing crime and increasing public safety requires an efficient and effective criminal justice system and recommends full implementation of the seven-point plan (Criminal Justice System Review/Revamp) already adopted by Cabinet in 2007.

· Improving rehabilitation and reducing recidivism . The NDP acknowledges that the relationship between drugs, alcohol and violence requires further study.

· Overcrowding of prisons should be addressed as a matter of urgency. Alternative sentencing practices should be addressed with the Department of Justice and regularly monitored.

· Promoting accountability and fighting corruption . The vision is of ‘a South Africa that has zero tolerance for corruption, in which an empowered citizenry have the confidence and knowledge to hold public and private officials to account and in which leaders hold themselves to high ethical standards and act with integrity. A resilient anti-corruption system is needed that ensures that anti-corruption agencies have the resources, credibility and powers to investigate corruption and that the investigations are acted on. Actions required to achieve an accountable state and zero-tolerance of corruption include creating a resilient and independent anti-corruption system that enjoys both official and public support; strengthening judicial governance and the rule of law; strengthening the accountability and responsibility of public servants; and creating an open, responsive and accountable public service.

· Strengthening the protection of whistle-blowers. Although the Protected Disclosures Act (2000) provides some protection for whistle-blowers, the Plan argues that it does not go far enough. Weaknesses identified include the narrow scope of protection contained in the law; the limited range of bodies to which a disclosure can be made (the Auditor General and Public Protector); the absence of a specific body tasked with providing advice on, promoting public awareness of and monitoring whistle blowing; a lack of clarity on the issue of conditional amnesty to whistle-blowers; and inadequate security protective measures for whistleblowers.

· Transforming society and uniting the country . The Plan seeks to bring about social cohesion while accepting peoples’ multiple identities. The proposed strategy highlights the importance of constitutional development to promote a more equitable, integrated and just society. The Constitution contains values of human dignity, non-sexism, non-racialism and the rule of law. It is also a national compact that declares all equal before the law, having the right of equal protection and benefit from the law. While laws may be passed to protect and advance those disadvantaged under apartheid, legislation is not enough. Families, communities and schools all have a role to play in bringing up children who respect the rule of law and understand the values in the Constitution.

Part 2

7. Minister’s political overview

On 2 July 2014, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr M Masutha, highlighted the following government’s priorities:

· A key promise is to fight crime and corruption. This task lies at the very heart of the portfolio and is shared by other departments in the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster. The National Development Plan also emphasises working towards a South Africa where all people are and feel safe.

· A further priority is the need to deliver a justice system which is accessible and affordable. Various initiatives are underway to address this. Litigation is too costly and there is a need to find ways for ordinary South Africans to be able to access quality justice services. Legal Aid SA is acknowledged as a world leader in this regard, developing new ways of making justice both accessible and affordable.

· The Department is also attending to the physical infrastructure of courts by both building new courts and revamping existing courts: The building of new High Courts in Polokwane, Limpopo and Nelspruit, Mpumalanga are priorities. Once these courts are completed, each province will having its own High Court.

· Accessibility also entails bringing court services closer to the people. An initiative in this regard is the conversion of branch courts in historically black areas to full-service courts.

· The establishment of a single ministry for both departments provides opportunities for enhanced synergy of services and a seamless approach in the area of the criminal justice system. The one system should reinforce the other. If case management works then there should be fewer persons awaiting trial and this will assist to address the overcrowding. If magistrates and judges take charge of their courts, the impact will be that there are fewer people awaiting trial or less prolonged trials. In this way the interests of justice is better served.

· Good governance is a priority, as is the combating of corruption. Any tenders that have been awarded improperly must be investigated and corrected. There can be no flouting of rules/prescripts. In addition if there is evidence of corruption in the judiciary, there are mechanisms in place to deal with this.

· The Department is not outside of national policies such as Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment, and opportunities for youth in the form of learnerships.

8. Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

8.1. The Director General presented the Department’s Strategic Plan and 2014/15 Annual Performance Plan.

8.2. The Department has the following strategic goals:

· Enhanced organisational performance.

· Providing administrative support to the courts to facilitate the (effective and efficient) resolution of criminal, civil and family law disputes. .

· Provision of effective and cost efficient state legal services Coordination of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Safety cluster in the delivery of Outcome 3.

· Promotion of the Constitution and its values.

8.3. The Department identified the following key risks to its operations:

· Certain posts cannot be filled, such as the Chief State Law Advisor, until the issues relating to the Occupation Specific Dispensation are fully resolved.

· The migration of certain functions to the Office of the Chief Justice during the 2014/15 financial year is likely to impact on operations of the Department as a whole. The extent of the impact is unclear at this stage.

· Dependence on the Department of Public Works for implementation of funded capital projects means that the Department cannot always finalise projects as planned. This is further complicated by the increases in construction and material costs, making projects more expensive than initially planned.

· Despite efforts to address challenges with the SITA management, there are still risks of delays in implementation of key ICT-related projects.

· Service delivery protests are an ongoing challenge often resulting in damage to state property. Courts and other service points run the risk of service disruptions.

9. Budget and programmes

9.1. As mentioned above, the main appropriation to Justice and Constitutional Development increased from R16.7 billion in 2013/14 to R17.9 billion in 2014/15. This includes a direct charge against the National Revenue Fund of R2.7 billion for judges and magistrates’ salaries. If the direct charge is excluded, the appropriation in 2014/15 for the Vote’s five programmes is R15.1 billion (in contrast to R13.8 billion excluding the direct transfer in 2013/14). The bulk of spending is directed towards Court Services, which is the Department’s main service delivery programme.

9.2. Budget constraints create spending pressures in the following areas:

· Implementation of certain legislation, in particular, the Jurisdiction of regional Courts Amendment Act; Legal Practice Bill; Protection of Personal Information Act; Older Persons Act and Protection from Harassment Act.

· The provision of security at service points and offices.

· Increased number of facilities to improve access to justice.

· Infrastructure support for the Department and stakeholders.

· Increased establishment in the lower courts and the provision of tools of trade to presiding officers, Legal Aid SA, prosecution services, and SAJEI (accommodation, ICT, library and additional security and rentals).

· Enhanced capacity in the State Legal Services, Master’s Officers, Safety, Health, Environment, Risk and Quality (SHERQ) and ICT.

· Increased spending on commissions of enquiry as a result of time extensions.

· Improving legal capacity in Courts and State Attorneys to improve the performance of core business in these areas.

· Spending on property leasing because of delays in building.

· The impact on staff costs of the DPSA’s directives for lower level employees and the pressure to include staff not included by the directive.

9.3. Notably, the Department underspent in 2013/14 by R475 million or 4.3%. The under-spending lies mostly in the areas of the Integrated Justice System (R120 million) as a result of delays in procurement processes and Building and Other Fixed Structures (R347.6 million) as a result of non-performance by contractors; late handover of a site to the contractor; late completion of documents for projects, as well as the late completion of tender documents. Although the budget was ring-fenced, National Treasury agreed to roll-back surplus funds to the 2014/15 financial year.

10. Programme s

10.1. Programme 1: Administration

10.1.1. The Administration programme is allocated R1.85 billion in 2014/15 (for the Ministry, Management, Corporate Services and Office Accommodation subprogrammes). The programme receives 18.9 % of the Department’s budget allocation and shows a real percentage decrease of -7.95 per cent from 2013/14.

10.1.2. The purpose of this programme is to manage the Department, develop policies and strategies for efficient administration of justice and provide centralised support services.

10.1.3. Among the three key priorities of the Department was to improve accountability by achieving a “No Audit Qualification” on the Vote Account in 2012/13. Now that the Department has achieved an unqualified opinion in the previous year, the focus will now shift to addressing issues identified in the Third Party Funds.

10.2. Programme 2: Court Services

10.2.1. The Court Services programme is allocated R6.06 billion in 2014/15 (for the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, High Courts, Specialised Courts, Lower Courts, Family Advocate, Magistrates Commission, Government Motor Transport, Facilities Management and Administration of Courts sub-programmes.) This programme accounts for 61.8 % of the Department’s budget and shows a minimal real increase of 0.92 % from the 2013/14 allocation.

10.2.2. The purpose of this programme is to facilitate the resolution of criminal, civil and family law disputes by providing accessible, efficient and quality administrative support to the courts and by managing court facilities.

10.2.3. Since 2006, the Department has implemented a case backlog reduction intervention aimed at reducing the number of backlog cases in the regional and district courts. To sustain the backlog reduction initiatives which are based on improved capacity, the backlog courts are being converted into permanent courts. A total of 40 courts were converted during 2013/14 and the other 40 will be converted during the MTEF. The Department also plans to continue to roll out the audio visual remand system to courts.

10.2.4. The project to align all magisterial districts and municipal boundaries is progressing well. During the previous financial year, a total of 36 magisterial districts were aligned to municipal boundaries. The Department intends to align 50 magisterial districts to municipal Boundaries over MTEF period.

10.2.5. The Department seeks to increase access to justice by establishing an additional 93 small claims courts over the MTEF period. This will result in a small claims court in each of the 387 current magisterial districts.

10.2.6. The Department retains its focus on maintenance. The intention is to improve the time taken to grant an order. During the last two financial years, there was a great improvement in the use of electronic payments system.

10.3. Programme 3: State Legal Services

10.3.1. The State Legal Services programme is allocated R924.9 million (for the State law Advisers, Litigation and Legal Services, Legislative Development and Law Reform, Master of the High Court and Constitutional Development subprogrammes.) The programme receives 9.4 % of the Departments budget allocation. This programme shows a decrease in real terms of 0.64 %t from 2013/14.

10.3.2. The programme provides legal and legislative services to organs of state; supervises the administration of deceased and insolvent estates and the liquidation of juristic persons, registration of trusts; and management of the Guardian’s Fund.

10.3.3. The focus on automation to improve Masters Services remains. The following is planned for 2014/15:

· A Paperless Estate Administration System and Paperless Estate Administration System for Trusts will be utilised for the registration of all cases.

· Sharing of intergovernmental information will be implemented (e.g. Home Affairs and SARS).

· Further strengthening of the underlying ICT Infrastructure for the Masters Offices is to be undertaken.

10.3.4. The Departments seeks to increase the percentage of briefs to Previously Disadvantaged Individuals to 76% (from 75% in 2013/14). It also seeks to maintain the target for number of cases successfully concluded on behalf of the State at 60%. It intends to put a policy in place to implement Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms and other initiatives to ensure speedy and cost-effective finalisation of state cases by the end of 2014/15.

10.4. Programme 5: Auxiliary and Associated Services

10.4.1. The programme provides a variety of auxiliary services associated with the Department’s aim and funds transfer payment to the South Africa Human Rights Commission, the office of the Public Protector, Legal Aid South Africa, the Special Investigation Unit and the President’s Fund.

10.4.2. Included under the Justice Modernisation sub-programme, is funding for the Integrated Justice System on behalf of the JCPS departments and entities . In 2014/15, the allocation increases in real terms by 25.5 %. The budget of R961.6 is to be distributed as follows:

· R164 million to Integrated Justice System (of this only R47.9 million and R4.8 million will used by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the Programme Management Office (PMO) respectively).

· R375. 5 million to the Criminal Justice System Revamp.

· R421.7 million allocated to justice modernisation in the Department.

· R90 million over the medium term has been reprioritised from the Justice Modernisation sub-programme for human resource capacity in the Financial Intelligence Centre.

10.4.3. Within Justice Modernisation, R52.7 million will be utilised by the Department to establish a Programme Management Office for the management of the Integrated Justice System programme and for the implementation of projects within the Department that will contribute to the integration of the criminal justice system.

10.4.4. The Integrated Justice System (IJS) remains vital to the modernisation of the Criminal Justice System (CJS). The JCPS Cluster has identified five integration priorities. For the medium term, the IJS Board intends to focus on the following:

· Establish ing a single person identifier across the Criminal Justice System (CJS) .

· Establishing an Integrated CJS performance information dashboard .

· Integration of the departmental case - related systems .

· Development and rollout of the Person Identification Verification Application (PIVA)

· Establishment of a single data store for statistical purposes.

11. Committee responses

11.1. Third Party Funds . The Committee expressed concern that the Department has yet to resolve challenges relating to Third Party Funds (TPF) but welcomes the Department’s intention to focus on the TPF to resolve the remaining challenges. Further, the Committee appreciates that there has been progress, albeit not enough: The accounting framework for TPF has been finalised with the Office of the Accountant General and the Department has tacit approval to submit TPF annual financial statements separately from the main vote account. As a result the Department tabled its first Third Party Funds Annual report covering a three year period 2010/11-2012/13. The Auditor General has, however, issued a disclaimer in respect of this report. Although the department has established baseline financial statements to work from it is clear much work remains to be done before the AG provides an unqualified opinion. The Committee, however, notes that the legal status of the TPF has yet to be finalised. While this is the case, the Department risks not being permitted to continue to prepare separate accounts for TPF with adverse consequences for the Department’s unqualified audit outcome.

11.2. Delays in capital works projects and underspending. The Committee is extremely concerned at the pattern of delays in the completion of capital projects. There is a great need for these new courts: they form part of a strategy to transform judicial services by making justice accessible in areas that were under-serviced in the past. The establishment of the new High courts at Polokwane in Limpopo and Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, in particular, are vital in this regard. Although the Department is dependent on the Department of Public Works for implementation of funded capital projects, the delays frustrate access to justice services. They are also wasteful of scarce funds, leading to escalating project costs. In addition, funds allocated to capital works are consistently not spent, which does not assist the Department when it approaches Treasury for additional funding. The response so far has been the Department to reprioritise funds without significant increases to the baseline. Given the strain on the Department’s funds in other priority areas, the Committee notes these developments with dismay while appreciating that the challenges cannot be addressed by the Justice Department alone. The Committee is sympathetic but remains of the view that if the Department intends to continue with these capital works projects, it must look towards developing a strategy to manage/drive projects of this nature to ensure that projects are delivered on time, within budget, and are of quality.

11.3. Truth and Reconciliation Commission . Parliament approved assistance measures for victims identified in terms of the Truth and Reconciliation process. Almost all outstanding beneficiaries have now been traced and the reparations paid. The Department, however, has removed from the 2014/15 APP the indicator providing for the ‘Number of Regulations for providing assistance to TRC victims approved’. In the first half of 2013/14, regulations on basic and higher education were submitted to Cabinet for consideration and approval by the President, while the remaining regulations relating to medical benefits for victims finalised as the National Health Act 2003 requires amendment to cover TRX identified victims. Nor have the regulations on Housing Assistance have not been finalised. Various community rehabilitation projects are underway – a total of 18 Communities are to benefit from the R1.13 billion available in the Presidents Fund. The Department engaged the Independent Development Trust (IDT) to conduct a needs analysis in these communities. The process has been finalised in Gauteng (Mamelodi and Alexandria) and KZN (Bhambayi and Mpophomeni) . Consultations have begun in the Free State communities of Thabong and Tumahole.

11.4. Integrated Justice System/Criminal Justice Revamp. The Committee is concerned at the continued and significant under-spending that has taken place on IJS projects. The need for improved co-ordination and integration of the JCPS Cluster departments’ IT systems was identified in 2007 as vital to efforts to ensure the effective implementation of the Criminal Justice System’s Seven-Point Plan. Implementation of the Seven-Point Plan is a key component of the NDP’s vision of building safer communities. A Cluster review in late 2011 revealed significant challenges, including those relating to the governance and leadership of the Integrated Justice System (IJS) Board; strategic alignment of Cluster departments; and SITA’s internal limitations. The IJS Board, however, has been reconstituted and the Director-General: Justice now receives regular reports, which are shared with her counterparts in stakeholder departments. A new development is the inclusion of indicators for this sub-programme, which were absent previously. The Department reports five integration priorities, that are have been ‘packaged into three major programme streams. Going forward, the Committee intends to monitor spending and performance for this priority project closely.

11.5. Transformation of state legal services. The Litigation and Legal Services subprogramme provides attorney, conveyance and notary services to the executive, all state departments, state owned enterprises and other government bodies through the offices of the Chief State Law Advisor. It appears that there are systemic challenges in the office that has led to poor performance. The Department’s 2013 Policy Framework Document on the Transformation of State Legal Services addresses the apparent lack of co-ordination of legal services. The policy plans to consolidate legal services to the State to enhance performance and should also go some way to respond to r the outcry that Previously Disadvantaged Individuals are not briefed commensurate with transformational objectives. The State Attorney Amendment Act 13 of 2014 was a first step in this regard. It provides for the appointment by the Minister of a ‘chief’ State Attorney – the Solicitor-General. The Department acknowledged that it has not invested as it should have in state legal services but that its request for additional funding to transform state legal services was not granted. This area requires urgent attention: at present 79% of cases involving the state are lost with huge cost implications. The Committee intends to request that the Department briefs it specifically on its policy to transform state legal services in the near future.

11.6. The Committee’s attention is drawn to the difficulties presently experienced by many of those that report to it regarding the implementation of Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) funding. Briefly, the problems appear to be twofold. The first relates to the failure to fully appreciate the carry through costs of the OSD funding, which has severe implications for the budget of affected entities (notably the NPA). The second relates to the manner in which it impacts on the professional stream. A review of the OSD post-implementation was meant to have occurred after a specified time but it is unclear whether this has happened. Although the Department informed the Committee that issues relating to OSD are in the process of being resolved, certain areas of the Department, such as is mentioned above in the case of the Chief State Law Advisor, cannot fill posts and run the risk of service disruptions.

11.7. Transformation of legal system. Transformation has formal, institutional and substantive aspects. To date, we have only dealt with the formal aspects of transformation. This has denied the opportunity to infuse our law - whether Common Law, Roman Dutch Law or Indigenous African Law - with constitutional values . The Committee notes that transformation initiatives have focused on transforming structures by enacting various legislative amendments. This process is going well. However, the courts apply the Common Law and Roman-Dutch Law when adjudicating on criminal, civil and family matters. This denies indigenous African law equal status. The underlying ethos of African Customary Law is inquisitorial and consensual and does not require legal representation, making justice more readily accessible to the poor. The finalisation of the Traditional Courts Bill and implementation of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act will go a long way to address the challenge.

11.8. The Committee is of the view that the Department should consider reviving community justice systems/courts. A comparative study with other African countries using similar structures would be informative.

11.9. Insolvency . The Committee notes the many challenges in the insolvency industry and supports the need to transform this industry in its totality by ensuring that it is properly regulated. The Committee welcomes the publication of a policy on insolvency in February 2014, but understands that its implementation has since been interdicted pending the finalisation of litigation. The Committee asks that the Department keeps it informed of developments in this regard.

11.10. Multi-lingual court services . The Committee supports the Department’s initiatives to promote multilingualism in courts as this is vital to ensuring access to quality justice. The Committee notes that translation services have been under-resourced throughout the criminal justice system, and this issue is compounded by the high level of international languages increasingly used, for instance, in Gauteng’s courts. Consideration should be given to exploring the possibility of requiring knowledge of an indigenous African language as part of the legal curriculum.

11.11. National Register of Sexual Offenders . The Committee is informed that there is a task-team to consider the possibility of merging or assimilating the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO), which the Justice Department administers with that of the Department of Social Development. This process, which will reduce unnecessary and costly duplication, has been underway for some time. , The Committee appreciates that a great deal of work has already been done and urges the Departments to conclude the process as soon as possible.

11.12. Small Claims Courts . The Committee welcomes the continued roll-out of small claims courts to all magisterial districts in the country as this will increase access to justice. The Department proclaimed a total of 293 small claims courts by the end of 2013/14 and aims to establish an additional 93 courts over the MTEF period. The Committee observed that the services offered by the small claims courts are not well known, especially in rural areas, and suggests that the Department market these courts more widely.

11.13. The Committee is concerned about the consequences that unfunded mandates have for the Department’s cashflow, especially those relating to the Commissions of Enquiry, which have been extended. These commissions do not form part of the Department’s planned activities for the year and are funded from its baseline. The resources required have proved to be substantial – the Commission of Enquiry into the tragic incident at or near the areas commonly known as the Marikana mine in Rustenburg, North West province costs the Department approximately R49 million each year; and the Commission into the strategic defence procurement package has cost R102 million annually. These funds are drawn from the Department’s already stretched operational budget.

Part 3

12. Programme 4: National Prosecuting Authority

12.1. The National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Adv. M Nxasana, presented the NPA’s strategic plan 2014-19 and annual performance plan 2014/15.

12.2. The NPA provides a co-ordinated prosecuting service that: ensures that justice is delivered to the victims of crime through general and specialized prosecutions; removes the profit from crime; and protects certain witnesses. The organisation has five sub-programmes: National Prosecutions Service (NPS), National Specialised Prosecutions Services (NSPS), Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU); the Office for Witness Protection (OWP) and Support Services (SS).

12.3. The NPA remains committed to the strategic direction it embarked on some years ago informed by the JCPS delivery agreement and the Draft Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). Certain changes to align its strategic objectives to its budget structure were necessary to improve accountability and management of objectives. The NPA’s Strategic Plan is still based on the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Delivery Agreement and the draft Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF).

12.4. The NPA has four strategic objectives, each specifically linked to a sub-programme as reflected in the Estimates of National Expenditure. The strategic objectives are as follows:

· Increase successful prosecutions.

· Improved prosecution of cases that required specialised prosecution.

· Ensure that profit is removed from crime.

· Ensure that threatened witnesses are successfully protected

12.5. The NPA identified the following as its top five risks:

· Emerging crime trends.

· Resource capacity.

· Stakeholder management.

· Information and knowledge management.

· Public perception and reputation.

12.6. The NPA has amended certain of its performance indicators:

· The performance indicator that deals with the ‘ number of backlogs cases ’ was removed from the Annual Performance Plan as this indicator is the responsibility of the Court Services programme of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

· The performance indicator for the conviction rate in the prosecution of sexual offences reported at T huthuzela Care Centres (T CCs ) was removed from the NPA’s A nnual P erformance P lan to the S exual O ffences and Community Affairs Unit’s (SOCA) annual plan as the various conviction rates for sexual offences in the previous plan were a duplication.

· The indicator for the value of compensation of freezing orders obtained was reviewed as it does not comply with SMART principles as it does not measure the service for victims of crime.

· The percentage of cases reported at TCCs referred to court for prosecution was included as it reflects the value of the SOCA Unit.

12.7. The NPA highlighted the following issues that affect its budget:

· The NPA’s legal status is uncertain. At present it is a programme within the Justice vote but has been permitted to prepare separate financial statements since 2001/2002. National Treasury has indicated that 2014/15 is the last year that the NPA will be permitted to do this and the issue of its status of the NPA needs to be resolved.

· Compliance in government is becoming both labour intensive and costly. Without sufficient funding there is a high probability that the organisation will have negative audit findings going forward.

· The NPA head office building lease expires in 2017. Other offices buildings are also leased. The NPA would wish to move from leased to State-owned office accommodation.

12.8. The NPA’s expenditure is expected to increase from R3.06 billion to R3.3 billion in 2014/15. The bulk of the NPA’s budget goes to the National Prosecuting Service sub-programme, which receives R2.1 billion in 2014/15. By far the majority of funds goes to the compensation of employees budget at 82%. Although the budget for goods and services is low at 15%, it is augmented by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, which provides for prosecutors at Lower Courts.

12.9. The spending focus over the medium term will be on finalising cases in support of realising the outcome that all people in South Africa are and feel safe. Focus will also be placed on the aspirant prosecutor programme so as to increase the annual intake in order to meet the higher than expected staff turnover. It is for this reason that the NPS sub-programme accounts for the bulk of the budget over this period.

13. Committee’s responses

13.1. The Committee is pleased to note that spending on consultants is projected to decrease due to greater use of internal capacity rather than outsourcing services. Also, the Committee is informed that the NPA is engaging with National Treasury regarding the reclassification of curator fees. At present, the use of curators is required by law and, as such, the NPA argues that they are “incorrectly” classified as consultant fees.

13.2. The NPA has few vacancies and only 2 of the 27 key management posts in the organisation are vacant. It is anticipated that these two positions will be filled during 2014. Although this is commendable, it is unclear whether this is the result of previously removing unfunded posts from the staff establishment as a result of severe budget constraints in past years, or whether this accurately reflects the NPA’s capacity needs. The Committee notes the NPA’s concern that higher levels of staff turnover are expected to continue as the judiciary aims to fill a number of significant posts. This is because the NPA has always been a main supplier to the judiciary.

13.3. The Committee appreciates the complexity of corruption cases but remains concerned at the dramatic reduction in the target for the n umber of persons convicted of corruption where the amount involved is more than R5 million from 42 actual convictions in 2012/13 to 20 for each year of the MTEF. It is equally concerned with the low targets that the NPA has set for the number of JCPS officials convicted of corruption-related offences (approximately 90 for each year of the MTEF), which it has difficulty accepting given reports of high levels of corruption in the country.

13.4. The Committee was informed that, contrary to media reports, the Integrity Management Unit had not been disbanded but that the Head of the Unit has been suspended. The Committee urges the NPA to finalise the matters as a matter of urgency to safeguard stability in the organisation.

13.5. The Committee is pleased at the focus on greater integration between the JCPS Cluster departments. ‘Docket readiness’, postponements for investigations to be completed, the unavailability of witnesses are all factors that contribute to delays that result in remand detainees being incarcerated for lengthy periods of time and to overcrowding in prisons. The Committee is of the view that merging the ministries for Justice and Correctional Services is advantageous for a better functioning criminal justice system overall as it brings the many of the roleplayers under a single Ministry.

13.6. The Committee broadly supports the NPA’s plans to move from leased accommodation to accommodation in property that is owned by the state. The NPA’s head office building lease expires in 2017. The NPA also leases accommodation for its DPP office buildings in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Grahamstown, Mmabatho, Kimberley and Mthatha. The Committee agrees that it would be far more cost-effective for the NPA to own the building that it occupies instead of paying rental. However, the tight fiscal stance makes it likely that for now this will remain an unfunded priority.

Part 4

14. Public Protector

14.1. The Public Protector is a Chapter 9 institution which derives its powers from the Constitution and other legislation.

14.2. In 2014/15 the Public Protector receives R218.2 million (a nominal increase of 9.2 %t and a real increase of 2.83 % compared to the R199.3 million appropriated in 2013/14. Further, the allocation to the Public Protector will increase to R231.07 million in 2015/16 and R243.3 million in 2016/17. The Public Protector, however, requests a budget of more than R300 million. (In October 2013, the Public Protector indicated in that it requires additional funding for the medium term of R31.8 million in 2014/15, R33.6 million in 2015/16 and R35.4 million 2016/17.)

14.3. The Public Protector’s Strategic Plan and Vision 2020 remains the roadmap for its work in partnership with Parliament and other organs of state by preventing and combating maladministration.

14.4. In addition to alignment with ongoing government priorities, the Strategic Plan has been slightly adjusted to ensure that its oversight work compliments the implementation of the National Development Plan, Vision 2030 and the State of the Nation Address.

14.5. The strategic objectives of the Public Protector are to:

· be accessible to and trusted by all persons and communities.

· provide prompt justice including remedial action.

· promote good governance in the conduct of all state affairs.

· become an efficient and effective organisation.

· achieve optimal performance and a service-focused culture.

14.6. The Public Protector identified the following recurring themes in complaints: Systemic service failure; indifference; non-compliance; corruption; overbilling; overcharging; false billing; scope creep in state contracts or tenders; and unnecessary services

14.7. Most of the PP’s budget goes to compensation of employees. The organizational structure was approved by the Minister of Finance and Department of Public Service and Administration but was never fully funded (41% of the posts in the structure are unfunded). Additional mandates are not necessarily accompanied by increased resources. Inadequate funding impairs the speed and quality of investigations.

15. Committee’s responses

15.1. The Committee is not certain that the Public Protector’s view regarding its power to review decisions made by the National Housing Board Regulatory Council (NHBRC) is correct. As a solution, the Public Protector is urged to submit proposals on any amendments that would need to be made in this regard to avoid uncertainty.

15.2. The Committee’s agrees that there is duplication of mandates with other bodies that perform oversight of the public administration. Also, the Public Protector’s broad mandate is accompanied by an impossible workload.

15.3. The Committee notes the heavy case-load but is of the view that the failure to reconcile overlapping mandates creates room for duplication and contributes to the strain on resources. The national Fiscus has limited funds available to meet competing priorities. For this reason, the Committee urges that steps are taken to ensure that resources are used effectively and efficiently and to avoid duplication among the various institutions.

15.4. The Committee is pleased to note that the Office intends to audit all backlog cases to finalise backlogs by September 2014.

16. Office of the Chief Justice

16.1. The OCJ is mandated to provide support to the Chief Justice in his or her dual role as the Head of the Judiciary and the Constitutional Court, respectively .

16.2. The OCJ was proclaimed a national department on 23 August 2010. A memorandum of understanding was signed with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on 26 January 2012 to transfer administrative support functions to the OCJ relating to the Judicial Services Commission; the South African Judicial Education Institute, and the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal. The transfer of the Magistrates Commission and the Rules Board was delayed as legislative amendments are required. In addition, National Treasury proposed that the administrative functions of the High Courts should also be transferred to the OCJ.

16.3. The Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Act and Superior Courts Act came into operation in 2013. Certain powers were delegated by the Minister and the Director-General: Justice and Constitutional Development to allow the OCJ to operate effectively.

16.4. The OCJ does not have a separate budget vote and currently operates in terms of transitional arrangement between it and the Department. The OCJ receives its budget through the Department’s Court Services programme. The key objective has been to build capacity in the OCJ. For now, the Director General: Justice and Constitutional Development is the OCJ’s Accounting Officer in terms of the Public Finance Management Act. However, a Budget Programme Structure was approved by National Treasury on 12 April 2013. T he OCJ has already embarked on certain processes in preparation for this future.

16.5. The 2014/15 budget allocation to the OCJ is inflation-based and does not take into account year-by-year growth in terms of mandates and support resources. Following engagements with National Treasury, the Office and the Department were advised to reprioritize to fund shortfalls and new mandates. The Office was also advised to deal with transfer/delegation of functions from the Department before Treasury could consider giving it an additional budget.

16.6. The Office has an estimated shortfall of R89 million and will have to adopt a phased approach.

16.7. The Secretary General highlighted the following challenges and priorities:

· The s ecuring of its own Budget Vote

· Acquiring Judicial Head Quarters. The Office is expected to vacate the current premises because the owner is selling the property. The current office space is not enough for current staff and the situation will get worse as the Office continues to grow.

· Smooth transfer/delegation of functions from the Department.

· Capacitation of the Office to carry current mandate

· Judicial Case Flow Management .

· Review/overhaul of Case Management Court Rules .

· Judicial-led Court Administration Model .

· Judicial education and the introduction of e-learning given budget constraints.

· Judicial/Court Modernization in the form of e-filing and e-records management

· The Office needs to be branded and marketed as a fully fledged department

· Implementation of Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Act and the Superior Courts Act.

17. Committee’s responses

17.1. The Committee commends the OCJ for the progress it has made in implementing the Supreme Courts Act but understands that there is some way to go before the OCJ is fully established. The Committee is aware that the Department has indicated that it intends to introduce legislation that will address court administration and should assist to clarify issues of accountability. The OCJ informed the Committee that it had submitted proposals in this regard to the Department but would re-submit these to the new Minister. The Committee looks forward to considering legislation that will see the establishment of the Office as an independent entity.

17.2. In addition to engaging with the Secretary-General on the OCJ’s performance and funding needs, the Committee in the past met with the Chief Justice to discuss matters of common concern. These engagements proved extremely constructive. The Committee looks forward to similar engagements in the future.

17.3. The Committee questioned the disparity between the resourcing of judges of the Constitutional Court and those of the Supreme Court of Appeal. In the past, there were various challenges relating to the adequacy of the resources available to the SCA. The Committee is aware that the budget for the Constitutional Court subprgramme includes the budget for the OCJ as well. Historically, the Constitutional Court was resourced differently but the OCJ’s task going forward is to ensure that there is balance between the two courts.

17.4. The Committee notes that the OCJ does not yet have a footprint in provinces to effectively support implementation of the Superior Courts Act to address fragmentation of the institutional structure and administrative processes. This is a concern, as rationalisation of structures and processes for improved administration is vital to the effective and efficient administration of court services.

17.5. The Committee notes the OCJ’s concerns regarding its accommodation needs. The Committee is of the view it would be better for the Office to build its own headquarters instead of renting accommodation. The Committee fully understand that the process of building takes time and that in the meantime alternative arrangements will need to be made.

17.6. The Committee fully supports a single judiciary under the leadership of the Chief Justice. The Committees notes that the administration of lower courts does not as yet form part of the OCJ’s mandate. The Committee awaits legislation that will allow for a single judiciary.

17.7. The Committee notes that the Office has 266 posts with 146 (55%) filled and 120 (45%) vacant. Some of the posts remain vacant because they are unfunded. The Committee is concerned that at present there is over-representation of men in senior management positions (male 73% and female 27%) and urges the Office to address this.

17.8. The Committee notes that legislative amendments are necessary to the South African Judicial Education Institute Act to make the Secretary-General the accounting officer for the institution. The Committee also notes with concern the funding shortfall with regard to SAJEI. The SAJEI performs a vital role in providing education to the judiciary and supports transformation initiatives and should be adequately resourced.

18. South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC)

18.1. The SAHRC’s mandate is extremely broad, encompassing almost every aspect of civil, political and economic rights. It must promote respect for human rights; promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights; and monitor how well human rights are observed. The Constitution also provides that each year the Commission must require relevant organs of state to provide it with information on measures taken towards the realisation of the socio-economic rights contained in the Constitution. The Commission has specific obligations in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 (PEPUDA). The Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013, will impact on the SAHRC’s obligations relating to the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA), as these are transferred to an information Regulator. However, the Regulator is still to be established.

18.2. The SAHRC’s strategic focus has for the past three years been directed at: organisational restructuring to allow for improved performance management; and enhancing its protection mandate, improving its electronic complaints handling system and boosting its legal capacity.

18.3. The Commission has tabled a medium term Strategic Plan 2014-2017 and Annual Performance Plan (APP) 2014/15. From 2014, onwards the Commission envisages a more integrated approach that incorporates the promotion and monitoring aspects of its work along with the protection and legal services mandate. Resources are to be shifted to deepen advocacy and expand rural outreach programmes in response to a need to develop greater public awareness about the Commission. This strategic push to ‘raise the profile’ of the Commission is reflected in the 2014/15 APP in a significant increase in stakeholder engagements and in the number of events to celebrate human rights calendar day events such as Africa Day, International Human Rights Day and Human Rights Day. Advocacy will also be enhanced through innovative mechanisms such as edutainment programmes and high level advocacy by Commissioners. The protection mandate remains significant (and will be driven by upgrades to the electronic complaints management system and in-depth analysis of statistical trends) with a greater focus on specialisation and technology (also not explained in any detail).

18.4. The impact of budget constraints on Strategic Planning means the Commission plans to reduce the number of international trips undertaken from 28 in 2013/14 to 12 in 2014/15 (and over the medium term) due to the high costs of international travel. In addition, the Commission proposes that given limited resources, it may be useful to identify and focus on specific areas of human rights protection, monitoring and promotion that are not covered by the mandates of any other existing Constitutional bodies. At the same time where there is scope for a shared mandate, partnerships with institutions supporting democracy to ensure greater strategic focus and prioritisation of rights will be explored.

18.5. This shift in focus is reflected in new strategic outcomes over 2014-17 in terms of which the Commission commits to:

· Use and project a broader Constitutional and legislative mandate .

· Engage with a process of enacting legislation that promotes Constitutional human rights obligations .

· Enhance understanding of international and regional issues through engagement with stakeholders .

· Enforce protection of rights through alternative dispute resolution and other means such as equality courts and litigation .

· Intensify advocacy as well as public and community outreach .

· Re-cluster commissioners’ strategic focus areas to enhance effectiveness .

· Strengthen key stakeholder relationships .

· Strengthen research and monitoring roles and functions

· Strengthen capacity that supports delivery on the mandate.

18.6. A further change highlighted in the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan is a shift in the approach to medium term Strategic Planning. The Commission reports that it will develop annual themes taking into consideration some of the following; the nature of complaints being received (using trends analysis reports); topical issues of national concern and provincial demographics such as language. These annual thematic areas are to be integrated into the 3-year planning cycle as follows; year 1 will focus on complaints and hearings; year 2 on recommendations and monitoring and year 3 on monitoring and evaluation. Feedback to affected stakeholders will be incorporated in planning.

18.7. The Commission intends to use technology such as social media, short message services (SMS’s), video clips, and various e-platforms in its work. Over the medium to long term some consideration will be given to the development of a Human Rights Application (App) that is linked with the Flowcentric case management system. The App would be utilised by the public to access and monitor progress of their cases.


18.8. The SAHRC is funded by way of a direct transfer from the Justice and Constitutional Development Vote. In 2014/15 the allocation increases slightly from R119.3 million in 2013/14 to R128.1 million in 2014/15.

18.9. The SAHRC’s budget is spread across its three main programmes i.e. Administration, Promotion and Protection of human rights, and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation.

19. Committee’s responses

19.1. The Committee notes that the Commission’s operations in 2013/14 were severely hampered by its budgetary constraints. The SAHRC froze eleven posts to address its funding constraints and this has impacted negatively on the SAHRC’s ability to meet the set targets for 2013/14. It is a concern to the Committee that the allocation for 2014/15 is only slightly greater than that for 2013/14. Given the budgetary constraints it is not clear how the SAHRC intends to meet the targets set for 2014/15.

19.2. The Committee welcomes the SAHRC’s assurances that owing to the stringent financial management it is unlikely that some of its offices in predominantly rural areas will have to be closed. The Committee is informed that while offices have remained open, the number of staff working in these offices has had to be reduced.

19.3. The Committee queried the SAHRC’s focus on international rather than regional instruments such as the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. In its response, the SAHRC acknowledged that regional instruments are often more progressive than international instruments but cautioned against ‘cultural relativism and the negative impact associated with this phenomenon’.

19.4. The Committee is cautious as to the use of donor-funding. If this becomes necessary, the Committee urges the SAHRC to take precautions to ensure that such donations are not subject to restrictive conditions, especially relating to its focus on regional instruments.

19.5. The Committee urges the SAHRC to give greater attention to its awareness programmes to promote constitutional literacy and encourage national dialogue to promote social cohesion and nation building.

20. Legal Aid South Africa

20.1. Legal Aid SA provides independent legal representation to the poor and vulnerable at State expense. Although the main thrust of its work is to provide legal representation to criminal accused, more recently Legal Aid SA has expanded its services to provide advice and representation in civil matters.

20.2. Legal Aid SA’s 2012-2017 strategic plan sets out the outcomes and strategies that it will pursue for that period. The five-year strategic plan informs the three-year medium term expenditure framework and budget, and includes performance indicators and targets.

20.3. Legal Aid SA’s strategic outcomes for 2012-2017 are to provide quality justice for, especially, the poor and vulnerable, and to be a respected, high performance, sustainable and accessible public entity that will have a positive impact on society, the economy and the environment.

20.4. Legal Aid SA will continue to prioritise services to the following groups: children; all detained persons (including sentenced offenders); all accused persons wishing to appeal or review a court decision in a higher court; women (particularly in divorce, maintenance and domestic violence cases); and landless persons (particularly in eviction cases).

20.5. Legal Aid SA receives its funding as a transfer from the Justice and Constitutional Development Vote: Auxiliary and Associated Services programme. Over the medium term its allocation increases from R1.48 billion to R1.64 billion. In addition, Legal Aid SA also generates revenue income, which increased from R1 billion in 2010/11 to R1.39 billion in 2013/14, and is expected to increase to R1.65 billion in 2016/17.

20.6. Legal Aid SA’s spending focus over the medium term will be on accelerating the provision of legal aid especially in relation to civil matters. To this end, it will increase the number of legal practitioners from 2 116 in 2013/14 to 2 131 2016/17. This will allow Legal Aid SA to increase the number of civil matters finalised from 45 679 to 59 604. Over the medium term, the appointment additional legal practitioners will cost R114,4 million which will be funded by way of reprioritised funds from the case backlog project.

21. Committee’s responses

21.1. The Committee congratulates Legal Aid SA on its innovative approach to ensure that all South Africans, regardless of the financial circumstances, can access justice services. There was unanimous support that Legal Aid SA should receive additional funds so that the full impact of the services it offered can be felt.

21.2. The Committee is informed that Legal Aid SA is implementing a marketing strategy that integrates awareness-raising through television and radio messages, print media, static and moving billboards, and radio and television adverts. Posters in different languages are displayed at certain key government service points. Pamphlets are mainly in English, but some are printed in African languages. The marketing strategy is supported by various interactive engagements aimed at promoting increased awareness of legal aid services. These activities are undertaken in collaboration with community-based organisations.

21.3. Legal Aid SA has six regional offices that are responsible for coordinating the delivery of legal aid services. It has a national footprint but the 64 justice centres and 64 satellite offices across South Africa do not meet the demand for legal aid services. Additional sites for the establishment of more centres and satellite offices have been identified but to date requests for additional finding made to National Treasury have been unsuccessful.

21.4. The services provided by the above-mentioned justice centres and satellite offices are coordinated at regional offices. The Committee notes with concern that the there are only six regional offices. Only the Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal and Eastern Cape provinces have their own offices, while three regional offices serve the Free State and North West, Western Cape and Northern Cape, and Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. Although the distribution of regional offices does not impact on the availability of services, it does impede the coordination of services in the six affected provinces. The Committee is informed that Legal Aid SA will attempt to address this challenge during a strategic planning session scheduled to take place later this year.

21.5. Although Legal Aid services are available to farm workers, the Committee is concerned that assistance to farm dwellers is limited. Funding for legal services in the case of farm evictions resides with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and is dealt with by a private law firm. There are many challenges with this approach but previous attempts to address the situation have not been successful.

21.6. Legal Aid SA acknowledged that negative perceptions regarding the quality of services offered by it persist, possibly as it employs candidate attorneys. Candidate attorneys are however only deployed at district courts and will typically deal with less serious charges. Legal Aid SA is employing a strategy to progressively reduce the number of candidate attorneys. Also, the work of its practitioner’s is quality assured.

21.7. Legal Aid SA is the largest employer of candidate attorneys in the country and employs 300 candidate attorneys each year. The vast majority of candidate attorneys are from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

21.8. Private practitioners are also encouraged to accredit with Legal Aid SA so that they may be offered legal aid instructions in limited circumstances. Legal Aid SA requires that all judicare practitioners be in possession of valid tax clearance certificates. This has resulted in the number of accredited practitioners decreasing dramatically. A process to encourage more practitioners to seek accreditation is underway.

21.9. The biggest challenge that its practitioners face is the high demand for legal aid services. Practitioner coverage at many courts is insufficient and relief capacity inadequate. This has serious consequences for the effective and efficient delivery of justice services, as gaps in court coverage place strain on the criminal justice system as system as a whole and can result in postponements, among others.. The intention was that Legal Aid SA have at least one practitioner per court but this has not transpired as a result of budget constraints.

21.10. The management of the court roll has also proven problematic: magistrates place a high number of trial cases on the roll in order to ensure that if cases fall through, there are other cases on the roll that can still proceed. The Committee agrees that the screening of for trial readiness must be improved in order to ensure that cases that are placed on the court roll proceed as planned.

21.11. Legal Aid SA owns the building that houses its national office and leases 134 other offices. The building that houses the National Office was bought through savings, and with the necessary approvals from National Treasury, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development as well as the Minister of Finance. Legal Aid SA has again approached the National Treasury to seek authority to purchase its own office space in all instances where challenges are experienced in sourcing office accommodation through leasing, once again through the use of savings . The Committee supports this approach.

22. Special Investigating Unit

22.1. The legislative mandate of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is derived from the Special Investigating Unit and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996 (as amended). Matters are referred to the SIU through a Presidential proclamation which sets out the scope of an investigation.

22.2. Its principal function is to investigate serious malpractices, maladministration and corruption in connection with the administration of state institutions, state assets and public money, as well as any conduct which may seriously harm the interests of the public. In addition the SIU:

· Institutes and conducts civil proceedings in any court of law or special tribunal, in its own name or on behalf of state institutions.

· Brings potential disciplinary matters to the attention of state institutions; and

· Provides for the secondment of SIU officials to improve departmental systems.

22.3. The SIU can refer matters to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (‘the Hawks’) in the South African Police Service (SAPS) (if criminal conduct is uncovered), as well as to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Revenue Service (SARS). It also works closely with the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) and the Anti-Corruption Task team (ACTT).

22.4. The SIU derives income from a National Treasury grant and work done for state departments. The budget allocation in 2014/15 of R510 million (R296.8 million from the baseline grant and R213.4 million from revenue) shows a real increase of 7.16 % from 2013/14. Although there is a real decrease in the baseline grant of 5.53 % there is a significant real increase (of 31.78 %) in projected revenue funding.

22.5. For the 2014/15 financial year the SIU has changed its programme funding structure. It is now structured into two Programmes, namely: Investigations; and Administration.

22.6. The SIU aligns itself with two Government Outcomes, i.e. Outcome 3 (South Africans are and feel safe) and Outcome 12 (Efficient, effective and development oriented state). The Unit’s focus is on contributing significantly to the reduction of corruption and the perception of corruption. These outcomes are linked to the vision set out in the National Development Plan (NDP) which highlights the importance of building a resilient anti-corruption system

22.7. The SIU has also reported on the need (over the medium term) to enhance specialist in-house skills, including cyber-forensics and forensic accountants; and access greater specialist expertise on procurement investigations such as quantity surveyors, engineers, corporate governance experts and business analysts.

23. Committee’s responses

23.1. The Committee acknowledged the sterling work performed by the SIU under its Head, often under trying circumstances.

23.2. The Committee engaged vigorously on the issue of possible duplication of roles among anti-corruption organisations. The SIU agreed that it is possible to debate this but argued that its powers of civil recovery make it unique among such agencies. In addition, the NDP supports the retention of the present anti-corruption system, which has a multiplicity of agencies, on the basis that this promotes independence and insulates institutions from political pressure and interference. Nonetheless, the Committee is of the view that these agencies should ensure improved information sharing and co-operation.

23.3. The SIU indicated that it requires additional legal expertise but is committed to curtailing the use of consultants. The Committee suggested that the SIU look to giving opportunities for young graduates to gain experience in this field by offering learnerships.

Part 5

24. Recommendation

24.1. The Committee recommends that the Traditional Courts Bill is redrafted and reintroduced as a matter of urgency to address the challenge of ensuring a transformed legal system that gives equal status to Indigenous African law.

24.2. The Committee recommends that the legal status of Third Party Funds be finalised by the introduction of the relevant legislation as soon as possible.

24.3. The Committee agrees that there is need for greater and more regular engagement between Parliament and the Chapter 9 and related institutions. This has long been identified as a challenge that requires attention.

24.4. The Committee recommends that greater use should be made of the Forum for Institutions Supporting Democracy as a way to reconcile overlapping workloads and mandates among the Chapter 9 and related institutions. The Committee understands that a parliamentary official attends such meetings and requests that it is informed of the outcome of these meetings. The Committee urges the Forum to convene a special meeting to address this issue in the next three months.

24.5. Constitutional literacy: The South African Human Rights Commission should spearhead dialogue that will promote and instil a deep understanding among all South Africans of constitutional values, the rule of law and human rights to advance nation building and social cohesion.

24.6. The Committee, having considered the Budget Vote 24: Justice and Constitutional Development supports it and recommends its approval.

24.7. Consideration should be given to donor funds being used to support community based outreach programmes and the establishment and capacitation of advice centres.

25. Appreciation

25.1. The Committee thanks the Minister and both Deputy Ministers for the political overview provided.

25.2. The Committee also thanks the Director General and all officials who appeared before the Committee for their co-operation.

25.3. The Committee thanks the newly appointed National Director of Public Prosecutions and NPA staff for their co-operation in this process.

25.4. The Committee also wishes to thank the Public Protector and Deputy Public Protector; the Chairperson and Commissioners of the South African Human Rights Commission; the Chairperson and Board of Legal Aid South Africa; and the Head of the Special Investigating Unit, as well as all respective staff members that appeared before the Committee for their co-operation.

25.5. The Committee thanks the Secretary-General: Office of the Chief Justice and her team for appearing before the Committee.

Report to be considered


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