ATC140711: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on Budget Vote 24: Justice and Constitutional Development, dated 11 July 2014
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
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).
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.
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.
The Committee supports the need to canvas the
publics views on performance to allow it to better evaluate the Departments
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.
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.
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.
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
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 Ministers political
overview; outlines key developments that impact on relevant policies and
Part 2 also contains a summary of the Departments
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 Committees response is also included.
Part 3 summarises the NPAs presentation to the
Committee on its strategic and annual plans and on its budget. Similarly, the
Committees response to the NPAs 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 Committees discussion on the presentations is captured.
Part 5 provides the Committees recommendation
relating to the Vote.
All presentations referred to in Parts 2 - 4 can be
obtained from the Committee Secretary.
Overview of the
Vote for the MTEF
The overall allocation to the Justice and
Constitutional Development Vote for 2014/15 is R17.8 billion. However,
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
magistrates 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
The Justice Departments 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
Increase / Decrease 2014/15
% change 2014/15
and Associated Services:
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
MOVEMENT OF FUNDS
Budget: Aligning growth to institutional capacity
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
7200 clerical posts
adjustments (cost of living increases)
increases for accommodation leases and municipal services (incl. rates and
of Permanent Personnel
Legal Aid SA and SAHRC (to increase capacity and for CJS projects)
and Recommendation Report 2013
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 Departments
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
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.
(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.
, 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
, 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.
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.
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.
Development Plan (NDP)
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).
identified focus areas are of particular relevance:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On 2 July 2014, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development,
Mr M Masutha,
highlighted the following governments
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.
entails bringing court services closer to the people. An initiative in this
regard is the conversion of branch courts in historically black areas to
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.
Department of Justice and Constitutional
The Director General
presented the Departments Strategic Plan and 2014/15 Annual Performance Plan.
The Department has the following strategic goals:
Enhanced organisational performance.
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.
Constitution and its values.
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
Budget and programmes
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 Votes 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 Departments main service
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.
for the Department and stakeholders.
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, Masters 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
Spending on property
leasing because of delays in building.
The impact on staff costs
of the DPSAs directives for lower level employees and the pressure to include
staff not included by the directive.
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.
Programme 1: Administration
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 Departments budget
allocation and shows a real percentage decrease of -7.95 per cent from 2013/14.
purpose of this programme is to manage the Department, develop policies and
strategies for efficient administration of justice and provide centralised
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.
Programme 2: Court Services
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 Departments budget and shows a
minimal real increase of 0.92 % from the 2013/14 allocation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
State Legal Services
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.
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
The focus on automation to improve
Masters Services remains. The following is planned for 2014/15:
A Paperless Estate Administration System
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.
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.
Auxiliary and Associated Services
programme provides a variety of auxiliary services associated with the
Departments 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 Presidents Fund.
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.
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
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
focus on the following:
a single person identifier across the Criminal
Justice System (CJS)
Integrated CJS performance information dashboard
Integration of the
Development and rollout of
the Person Identification Verification Application (PIVA)
Establishment of a single data store for
Third Party Funds
. The Committee expressed concern
that the Department has yet to resolve challenges relating to Third Party Funds
(TPF) but welcomes the Departments 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
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 Departments unqualified audit outcome.
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
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
Given the strain on the Departments 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.
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
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.
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 Systems Seven-Point Plan. Implementation of the
Seven-Point Plan is a key component of the NDPs 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 SITAs
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
of state legal
The Litigation and Legal Services subprogramme
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
Departments 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.
Committees 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
Transformation of legal
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
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 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.
. 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.
. The Committee supports the Departments 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
Gautengs courts. Consideration should be given to exploring the possibility of
requiring knowledge of an indigenous African language as part of the legal
National Register of Sexual
. 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.
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.
The Committee is
concerned about the consequences that unfunded mandates have for the
Departments cashflow, especially those relating to the Commissions of Enquiry,
which have been extended. These commissions do not form part of the
Departments 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 Departments already stretched operational budget.
National Prosecuting Authority
The National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Adv. M Nxasana,
presented the NPAs strategic plan 2014-19 and annual performance plan 2014/15.
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).
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 NPAs Strategic Plan is still
based on the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Delivery Agreement
and the draft Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF).
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
Improved prosecution of
cases that required specialised prosecution.
Ensure that profit is
removed from crime.
witnesses are successfully protected
The NPA identified the following as its top five
Emerging crime trends.
Information and knowledge
The NPA has amended certain of its performance
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
was removed from the NPAs A
to the S
and Community Affairs Units (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
The percentage of cases
reported at TCCs referred to court for prosecution
was included as it
reflects the value of the SOCA Unit.
The NPA highlighted the following issues that
affect its budget:
The NPAs 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
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
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.
The NPAs expenditure is expected to increase from R3.06 billion to R3.3 billion
in 2014/15. The bulk of the NPAs 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.
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.
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.
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 NPAs capacity needs. The Committee notes the NPAs
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Committee broadly
supports the NPAs plans to move from leased accommodation to accommodation in
property that is owned by the state. The NPAs 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.
The Public Protector
is a Chapter 9
institution which derives its powers from the Constitution and other legislation.
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.
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.)
The Public Protectors 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.
In addition to alignment with ongoing
Strategic Plan has been slightly adjusted to ensure that its oversight work
compliments the implementation of the
Development Plan, Vision 2030 and the State of the Nation Address.
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
performance and a service-focused culture.
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
of the PPs 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
The Committee is not certain that the Public
Protectors 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.
The Committees agrees that there is duplication of
mandates with other bodies that perform oversight of the public administration.
Also, the Public Protectors broad mandate is accompanied by an impossible
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
The Committee is pleased to note that the Office
intends to audit all backlog cases to finalise backlogs by September 2014.
Office of 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
was proclaimed a national department on 23 August
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.
Treasury proposed that the administrative functions of the High Courts should
also be transferred to the OCJ.
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
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
Departments Court Services programme. The key objective has been to build
capacity in the OCJ. For now, the
Justice and Constitutional Development is the OCJs 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
OCJ has already embarked on certain processes in preparation for this future.
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.
The Office has
an estimated shortfall of R89 million and will have to adopt a phased approach.
The Secretary General highlighted the following
challenges and priorities:
of its own
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.
of functions from the Department.
Capacitation of the Office
to carry current mandate
Judicial Case Flow
Review/overhaul of Case
Management Court Rules
introduction of e-learning given budget
in the form of
The Office needs to be branded
and marketed as a fully fledged department
Implementation of Constitution
Seventeenth Amendment Act and the Superior
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.
In addition to engaging with the Secretary-General on the OCJs
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.
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 OCJs task going
forward is to ensure that there is balance between the two courts.
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.
The Committee notes the OCJs 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.
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 OCJs mandate. The Committee awaits
legislation that will allow for a single judiciary.
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
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.
South African Human Rights
The SAHRCs 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 SAHRCs 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
SAHRCs 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.
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).
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.
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
Intensify advocacy as well
as public and community outreach
strategic focus areas to enhance effectiveness
Strengthen key stakeholder
Strengthen research and
monitoring roles and functions
supports delivery on the mandate.
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.
The Commission intends to use technology such as
social media, short message services (SMSs), 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.
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.
The SAHRCs budget is spread across its three main
programmes i.e. Administration, Promotion and Protection of human rights, and
Research, Monitoring and Evaluation.
The Committee notes that the Commissions 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 SAHRCs 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.
The Committee welcomes the SAHRCs 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.
The Committee queried the SAHRCs focus on
international rather than regional instruments such as the African Charter on
Human and Peoples 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.
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.
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.
Legal Aid South Africa
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.
Legal Aid SAs 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.
Legal Aid SAs 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.
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).
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.
Legal Aid SAs 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 practitioners is quality assured.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Committee supports this approach.
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
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
Institutes and conducts
civil proceedings in any court of law or special tribunal, in its own name or
on behalf of state institutions.
disciplinary matters to the attention of state institutions; and
Provides for the secondment
of SIU officials to improve departmental systems.
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
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
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.
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 Units 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
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.
The Committee acknowledged the sterling work
performed by the SIU under its Head, often under trying circumstances.
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.
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
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.
The Committee recommends that the legal status of Third Party Funds be
finalised by the introduction of the relevant legislation as soon as possible.
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
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.
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.
The Committee, having considered the Budget Vote
24: Justice and Constitutional Development supports it and recommends its
Consideration should be given to
donor funds being used to support community based outreach programmes and the establishment
and capacitation of advice centres.
The Committee thanks the Minister and both Deputy
Ministers for the political overview provided.
The Committee also thanks the Director General and
all officials who appeared before the Committee for their co-operation.
The Committee thanks the newly appointed National
Director of Public Prosecutions and NPA staff for their co-operation in this
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
The Committee thanks the Secretary-General: Office
of the Chief Justice and her team for appearing before the Committee.
Report to be
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