The Select Committee on Security and Justice held a virtual briefing on the 2023 Budget and Annual Performance Plans (APP) of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).
The Department of Correctional Services (DCS), when presenting its APP, presented the planned policy initiatives for the 2023/24 financial years, which include amending sections of the Correctional Services Act, relevant to the relationship between the DCS and the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) and their independence. Four key performance indicators that the Department has shown are the percentage of parolees and probationers without violating their conditions, the number of victims participating in certain restorative justice processes and the cross-cutting indicator which speaks to implementing the National strategic plan for Gender-Based Violence.
Through its APP, the Department highlighted that the South African criminal justice system faces an increase in offenders due to criminality that pervades society. The Department has established programmes that aim to lead the social reintegration of offenders who have either finished their terms of imprisonment or have successfully participated in rehabilitation programmes. These programmes are through established community corrections, rehabilitation programmes and correctional centres.
Additionally, the Department raised some key priorities in its APP and budget presentation, including breaking the cycle of crime, corrections delivered through an integrated Government and ideal rehabilitation programmes.
The Committee asked the Department for an overview of the challenges it encountered concerning the Thabo Bester escape. It asked what measures the Department had taken regarding its contracts with G4S and what underlying reasons have contributed to review applications for remand detainees being unsuccessful. It said it was concerning that not a single employee had been dismissed for any of these escapes.
Addressing the issue of overcrowding of inmates, the Committee also asked what the situation is regarding the lack of social workers and psychiatrists and how the shortage of skills was being mitigated. It also asked about the time frame for introducing the JICS, pointing out that the overcrowding target increased this year.
The Department said that when it comes to parolees and overcrowding of foreigners in prisons, it compares the flow between its correctional facilities and the Department of Home Affairs and those that are not supposed to be in their facilities are handed over to Home Affairs.
The Chairperson opened the virtual meeting and noted all Members present. She then welcomed the management team from the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), along with the Deputy Minister of Correctional Services and the Acting National Commissioner.
The Committee adopted its report on the Budget Vote 25: Annual Performance Plan of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
Department of Correctional Services Annual Performance Plan 2022/23
Briefing notes presented by Acting National Commissioner
Mr Makgothi Thobakgale, Acting National Commissioner of Correctional Services, presented the planned policy initiatives for the 2023/24 financial year, which include amending sections 1, 30, 31, 88A and 91 of the Correctional Services Act, relevant to the relationship between the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) and the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) and their independence. The four key performance indicators that the Department has shown are the percentage of parolees and probationers without violations of their conditions, the number of victims participating in certain restorative justice processes and also the cross-cutting indicator which speaks to the implementation of the National strategic plan for Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
The next priority that government wants to contribute to is economic transformation and job creation, which includes the number of economic opportunities facilitated for parolees and probationers, the percentage of youth employed within the Department, the percentage of the Department’s compliance to the employment equity plan and the percentage of tenders above R30 million that are awarded to designated groups.
Education skills are the key performance areas relating to the percentage of sentenced offenders with correctional sentence plans that the Department has completed, such as correctional programs, long and short occupational skills programs and TVET college programs. Finally, performance indicators of the Department’s administration program include investigations completed for reported allegations, officials charged and found guilty of corrupt activities and compliance with employment equity plans.
Mr Thobakgale discussed the theory of change and how the Department measures its performance over the five year period. The Department has priorities that are measuring its outcomes over the medium to long term. Therefore its performance indicators must be aligned and consistent for it to be able to measure the theory of change. The DCS wants to achieve improved safety and security of inmates, parolees, and probation officials. In addition to that, it wants to improve the case management processes of inmates, increase access to rehabilitation programmes to improve moral fibre, successfully reintegrate all those under the Department's care, and have a healthy incarcerated population and a high performing ethical organisation.
The Department aims to measure the reduction of security breaches in correctional facilities, the increase in offenders approved for parole placement or correctional supervision, the increase in offenders enrolled in development programmes, the increase in inmates participating in well-being programmes, and the achievement of organisational and organisational performance targets.
Crime statistics have witnessed general increases in terms of murders, committed rape cases, attempted murder, and GBV issues, which would also influence the inflow in terms of population.
Discussing unemployment, Mr Thobakgale indicated that whilst there is a decrease, in the 15 to 34 age group which is classified as youth, there is still high unemployment amongst this group. COVID is no longer a global health emergency, however, the Department manages that in terms of its health standard operating procedures and is cognisant of that in its operating environment.
The DCS has observed a general decrease in overall security breaches since it started executing its five year strategic plan, although the recent lockdown has impacted it. An increase in the population levels of incarcerated persons and awaiting trial detainees has also impacted how it targets overcrowding.
Commissioner Thobakgale discussed the importance of creating an entrepreneurial state and ensuring that the Department can fund its own activities and contribute to the skills development of offenders. Its emphasis is on source efficiency and the sustainability framework of the Department.
In terms of rehabilitation, the Department's focus is on increasing access to life skills education training and personal well-being programmes going forward. To drive social reintegration initiatives, the Department continues to engage Government Departments, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), faith-based organisations, and community-based organisations. In terms of care, the Department ensures 24-hour access to primary healthcare services as well as managing those who are in requirement of mental healthcare services. It has developed an integrated Human Resources (HR) strategy to manage limited resources and increase internal revenue. This strategy focuses on HR development, employee health and wellness, and employee relations to improve the environment for officials and manage talent.
The Department has also ensured gender mainstreaming and safer conditions for public officials and inmates in correctional facilities. Additionally, it has identified 13 strategic risks that could hamper the delivery of its strategic plan or Annual Performance Plan (APP), and it has a risk management strategy and risk management practitioners within the organisation to assist in achieving performance objectives.
Briefing notes presented by Acting Chief Financial Officer
Mr Lebohang Marumule, Acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Department of Correctional Services, reported that the expenditure of the Department through the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 2.3% from the 2022/23 financial year to R28.4 billion in the 2025/26 financial year. The allocation to the incarceration programme account for 58.8% of the total vote allocation within the period of three years, which in monetary terms is R48 billion. The alignment between the Personnel Salary System (PERSAL) and the Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) is not yet finalised. There is a baseline increase between the 2023/24 to 2025/26 financial year of R1.3 billion which is the carry-through amount. The Department has also, within the MTEF period, allocated R266 million for machinery and equipment under the rehabilitation programme.
The 2022 Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) allocation is listed as specifically and exclusively appropriate for the Appropriation Bill and may not be used for purposes other than those specified. The JICS is allocated R76.4 million in the 2023/24 financial year, R79.9 million in the 2024/25 financial year, and R83.5 million for the 2025/26 financial year. The Compensation of Employees ceiling amounts to R17,361 billion in the 2023/24 financial year, R18,128 billion in the 2024/25 financial year, and R18,927 billion in the 2025/26 financial year.
The expenditure programme starts with administration. Regarding the MTEF estimate, for the 2023/24 financial year, it is R4.9 billion and the outer year is R5.2 billion with an average growth of 3.5%. The incarceration rehabilitation programme for the 2023/24 financial year is R2.2 billion, 2025/26 financial year is R2.4 billion, and social integration is R1.2 billion.
The budget in terms of the 2023/24 financial year is R26 billion, and in 2025/26, it will be R28 billion. In terms of the maintenance and repairs of infrastructure in the 2023/24 financial year, there was an allocation of R147 million and the outer year allocation an amount of R154 million; this is an average growth rate of 2.3% of the average growth rate.
Deputy Minister Justice and Correctional Services
Nkosi Patekile Holomisa, Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, highlighted that the South African criminal justice system faces increased offenders due to the criminality that pervades society. The Department has established community corrections, rehabilitation programmes, and correctional centres to address this. These programmes aim to lead the social reintegration of offenders who have either finished their terms of imprisonment or have successfully participated in rehabilitation programmes. Additionally, the Department has implemented a crime prevention strategy to look at alternative ways of meeting punishment for offenders found guilty. Once offenders have been convicted, they are brought under community corrections through probation.
He added that turning offenders into law-abiding citizens is important instead of putting them in unacceptable conditions. Any form of support is welcome to succeed in these programmes.
Ms A Maleka (ANC, Mpumalanga) asked for an overview of the challenges within the Department concerning the Thabo Bester escape. What measures has the Department taken in respect of its contracts with G4S? What underlying reasons contribute to review applications for remand detainees being unsuccessful? What is the Department doing to address the challenges concerning the applications?
The Department is facing a decrease in the budget for programme three; how will the Department manage this decrease concerning the importance of rehabilitation programmes for inmates? And what matters will be will be put in place to ensure that the inmates do not suffer?
Ms M Dlamini (EFF, Mpumalanga) stated the Thabo Bester case highlighted the lack of communication between inmates and the Department. Inmates who shared the prison with Thabo Bester had access to media and cell phones to try to alert the Department of the planned escape, but it failed to hear them.
Additionally, the inmate escaped prison for a year without informing the public. Community members should receive communications or notices once an inmate has escaped.
The Department has been involved in the labour exploitation of inmates and entered contracts with private companies to take the work done by inmates and sell it for profit.
Lastly, the monitoring process for repeated offenders is not being properly carried out and the cause of someone repeating the same offences is not being properly addressed. It is also unfair that victims of crime do not have access to education, yet offenders have access to education.
Ms N Ndongeni (ANC, Eastern Cape) asked what vacancies exist in senior management, and how far the Department is in filling the Eastern Cape Regional Commissioner position.
Why is the employment equity target for people with disabilities 0.8% which is below the required 2%?
Are there insufficient social workers, psychologists, and general support for inmates or are there still challenges for the Department in providing these services to inmates?
How would the Department describe the mental health of employees working within the DCS, particularly in light of overcrowding and other pleasure? What measures are being put in place to ensure that DCS officials are given the necessary support?
Mr R Badenhorst (DA, Western Cape) reported that between 2019- 2022 143 inmates had escaped and not a single employee has been dismissed for any of these escapes. With the facilities that are at 0% capacity, what is the situation at the moment? What is being done?
The rehabilitation programmes mentioned are definitely not available in all the facilities and what is the Department’s plan to help inmates at smaller facilities?
What is the situation regarding the lack of social workers and psychiatrists? Is this shortage of skills being mitigated and how is the Department ensuring that these services are made available to all the inmates? He asked if the services were, in fact, available to the inmates.
Does the DCS have a service-level agreement with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI)? It seems that there is not one prison kitchen in this country that is properly working and it takes forever to fix it. Has the Department taken this up with Cabinet and what was the response?
What is the effect of load shedding in prisons? How does the budget go into diesel and do generators get serviced? Meanwhile, the DPW is sitting with almost R6 billion of irregular expenses, yet no single official has been fired.
There are 105 functional Community Policing Forums (CPFs) in the Western Cape. What has the DCS done to engage with those CPFs about parolees under their jurisdiction, so communities can assist when there are parole violations?
Ms M Bartlett (ANC, Northern Cape) asked about the timeframe for introducing the JICS, pointing out that the overcrowding target has increased for this year. Can the Department give an understanding of why this target has increased? Also, what is the current status of overcrowding in correctional centres and the current bed space availability for inmates? How successful are the victim-offender dialogues and what are the successes and challenges?
Mr E Mthethwa (ANC, KwaZulu Natal) asked how deep the impact of the load shedding is.
Mr K Motsamai (EFF, Gauteng) raised the issue of overcrowding, making particular reference to foreigners in prison that have finished their sentences. Instead of being released to go to Lindela or to their countries of origin, they are detained. It is so difficult for the Department to release them. The overcrowding violates human rights and now, all the centres are overcrowded. At Johannesburg Prison (Sun City), cells that were made to hold 20 inmates are being occupied by more than 50 people.
In the Thabo Bester escape saga, Mr Motsamai pointed out that only a few people had been arrested for assisting Thabo with his escape, indicating corruption within the centre. Whistle-blowers exposed those that are corrupt, and after that, they were suspended because they exposed the corruption. When is the National Commissioner going to return those people that were suspended? Why is the National Commissioner refusing to sign or approve emails sent to him when Members want to see the corruption within the centre?
He said that he was concerned about the violence that continues to be perpetuated within correctional centres, because the aim of the centres is to rehabilitate, to educate, and to change the behaviour of prisoners, but prisoners go in there with the crimes that they have committed and instead of being rehabilitated some of them are coming back worse than the way they were when they entered the prison cells.
Mr T Dodovu (ANC, North West) stated that the Thabo Bester case highlights the need for the Department to deal with corruption within its centres. What is the Department’s plan to combat corruption?
Prisoners get more benefits than the person who is outside the prison unemployed. They watch television, have access to internet facilities and eat better meals than a person who is on the outside, who is poor, and unemployed. These are the things that the Department must look at and indicate how the system is going to be strengthened.
The Chairperson remarked concerning the number of escapes that have taken place within correctional service facilities over the last financial year, asking how many have taken place and what lessons the Department has drawn about those escapes and the Thabo Bester escape as well.
The Chairperson handed over to the National Commissioner to respond.
The Acting National Commissioner addressed the question of stopping corruption, saying that the Hawks arrested two Department officials, and officials suspected of being involved in prisoner escapes and gambling inside the centres. Mr Thobakgale responded that security plans are being implemented in every Correctional Facility to prevent corruption and collusion between officials and offenders, along with a self-sufficiency sustainability strategic framework. These plans include the use of electronic equipment for searching, as well as physical searching, and a system of interaction with officials and offenders. The Hawks are a law enforcement agency tasked with dealing with these kinds of cases, and the Department has worked with them to get information on those suspected to be involved in these activities and get them arrested. Employees found to have been involved in these activities are subject to disciplinary processes, and statistics are submitted to the Committee along with a report of the disciplinary cases that have been effected and the sanctions that came out of those. The most important details of the phrases correctional facilities, offenders, and security plans are that they are designed to create a safe environment for civil interaction between offenders in correctional facilities.
Security plans are implemented to protect whistle-blowers and offenders by providing them with information specific to a specific Correctional Facility management area. Transfer policies are used to transfer offenders to centres where they will be safe, if they provide information or assist in dealing with corruption. Finally, a combating strategy is used to reduce incidents of attacks between offenders. These details are important because they ensure that every case is treated on its own merit and that the issue of gambling is monitored individually. The Department is reprioritising within its budget to ensure that the programmes on incarceration and rehabilitation get an appropriate allocation.
The self-sufficiency sustainability strategic framework is being implemented in the incarceration budget to ensure that offenders are utilised for cost savings and to increase production. Workshops are being held and a bakery is being rolled out to reduce the money spent buying vegetables and other consumables outside the Department at higher prices. This has allowed the Department to fly their questions with products at a cost basis.
The Department has released an annual report on implementing the self-sufficiency and sustainability framework and is about to release its second annual report.
Responding to questions about load shedding, Mr Thobakgale said that the impact of loadshedding has forced the Department to increase the speed at which it ensures that correctional facilities have access to generators. However, this does affect the budget of the Department and it is in discussions with National Treasury to see how it can cushion the impact of loadshedding on the budget. The Department is also working closely with Municipalities and Eskom to ensure no disruptions. Regarding the support given to parolees and the overcrowding of foreigners in prisons, he said that monthly, the Department compares the flow between its correctional facilities and the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and those that are not supposed to be in their facilities, are handed over to the DHA.
The DHA has formed a task team led by the Director-General (DG) of the Department and the National Commissioner of correctional services to assess the eligibility of offenders for the remission of sentence. They are also looking at how the exercise can be integrated into their work monthly, such as submitting to the Department of Justice (DoJ) for conversion of sentences to probation and submitting to the DoJ, through Magistrate Courts for the change of bail. Finally, they are preparing a full package on the remission of sentences that will be presented to Cabinet for the attention of the President. Additionally, they provide support to parolees after they have been released to the care of community corrections, such as utilising them as a hobby or setting up their own businesses. These parolees are expected to display the fact that they have been rehabilitated through the programme of correctional services.
Responding to questions involving the JICS, victim-offender dialogue, and informing victims when offenders are released on parole, the Acting National Commissioner said that the amendment of legislation about the JICS had been sent through Cabinet and will now be subjected to parliamentary processes.
Finally, the issue of offender-victim dialogue involves the presence of the community and the facilitation of offender-victim dialogue between the victim and the offender under the supervision of the parole board and the professional in the correctional facility. The parole board is a process of considering parole for offenders, where the board interacts with victims who are given an opportunity to make a presentation.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) are part of the parole board on an observer status to give advice on the whereabouts of the victim and what consideration to make when an offender is supposed to be released on parole. In terms of standard operating procedures, the Department does not release offenders into community corrections without the input of the victim unless in circumstances where it has satisfied itself that the victim cannot be found at all. In that instance, the Department also looks for the families of the victims.
Mr Thobakgale responded to the questions relating to the number of social workers and their shortage, the process of monitoring parolees, and other causes of overcrowding in prisons, saying that the Department of Social Development (DSD) has implemented a programme for auxiliary social workers and psychologists under the supervision of fully qualified psychologists and social workers. If the number of offenders cannot be met, the Department will refer them to a later date. Additionally, the Minister will set up a panel for the shortlisting and interviewing of psychologists and social workers. This panel will ensure that the required ratio regarding the number of offenders is met. Finally, the DSD is required to implement a budget reduction programme as directed by Treasury.
The DCS is implementing a human resource budget tool to reduce the number of employees required to fit the numbers allocated to them by National Treasury. This has led to a situation where there is a backlog in the work of psychologists and social workers. In instances when there is a backlog in a fuller management area, a group of social workers and psychologists are sent to work on that in the bedrock of that management area so that it can get it to manageable levels. On the issue of monitoring parolees when they are in the care of community corrections, the campaign of doing spot checks on the on-parole list has improved the monitoring of parolees and some do meet the requirements of parole. In other instances, the Department will bring parolees back into Correctional Facilities, which adds to the overcrowding numbers. In other instances, the Department will put parolees on the list of those absconding. The track and tracing teams go out to look for parolees without informing the parole officer. The DCS is working with the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation, to implement a project that will evaluate the rehabilitation and correctional programme along with the effectiveness of the parolees' monitoring programmes. It is also noted that those offenders and parolees that are taken through all the programmes and assessed but still come back into Correctional Facilities are given special attention to ensure when they have to go again before the parole board, they get more and more referrals because they would have registered with the Department's processes.
Mr Thobakgale also said that the DCS works with other partner Departments like the DSD to provide services to victims of crime. These programmes range from improving the living conditions of victims of crimes and providing them with skills. The Department’s programmes establish guardians and create employment opportunities within the space of correctional services. There are also interactions with victims to expose them to skill development programmes. He confirmed that where there is an escape from a correctional facility, the Department informs the victim or members of the victim's family, and issues a media alert.
The first step that the DCS takes to report an escape is to report it to SAPS and then work with law enforcement agencies to track and trace the offender that would have escaped. This is an integral part of the Department's Annual Performance Plan (APP) in the branch of community correction.
The case of Thabo Bester involved an incident in Mangaung Prison, a Correctional Facility managed under a public private partnership contract. The report received in May 2022 that there was an incident of assault and an offender being burnt that was sent to the SAPS through the contractor and Department based in Mangaung Correctional Facilities.
SAPS indicated that its investigation revealed many criminal activities and wanted to provide information to the Department when it was satisfied that it did not jeopardise its investigation into other criminal activity. The post-mortem report was submitted to the Department in October 2022, and the draft report from the investigators for profit was submitted to the Director of contract management in November 2022. The report was not finalised until March 2023, after the Commissioner gave the Director an ultimatum. Based on the final report, it is now clear that there was an escape on 3 May 2022 and the body found in cell 35 was not the body of Thabo Bester. The National Commissioner was denied the ability to announce that there was an exchange, and the family of the victim was then informed.
Mr KJ Katenga, Chief Deputy Commissioner: Strategic Management, Department of Correctional Services, responded that sentenced and unsentenced offenders in the Western Cape have increased from 144 000 to 155 000 over the 2022/23 financial year. A detailed explanation is provided in the supplementary presentation explaining why the overcrowding indicator has increased. A Western Cape judgment indicated that there should be no overcrowding in excess of 150% in all correctional services facilities, so the target has been set at 150% from 32%. He said that Ms Molepo would add more context as the Chief Deputy Commissioner for Remand Detention.
Ms Anna Molepo, Chief Deputy Commissioner: Remand Detention, Department of Correctional Services, responded to the question of remand detention and said the total number of foreign nationals at 31 March 2023 was sitting at 7 738. She supported the response by the Acting National Commissioner that there is a project with the DoH for the management of foreign nationals. The Department uses sections 63A, 61, 43G and 62F of the Criminal Procedures Act to review bails. As of 31 March only 154 remand detainee bails were reviewed. Whereas for the whole financial year, there was a total of 12 283 remand detainees from all correctional centres.
Ms Molepo confirmed that there are processes in place and that the Acting National Commissioners is leading the project on the outcome of bail reviews.
Mr Thobakgale said, in response to the question about escapes, that the number of escapes in the previous financial year was 27, whereas in the current financial year, only six had been reported, showing a decrease from the past three years. Additionally, there is a programme to trace those who have escaped and figures show that more than 80% of the escapees have been rearrested and brought back into custody.
Regarding the issue of the presidential pardon, he confirmed that the DoJ handles the matter as it is part of its mandate. What the DCS does is to prepare a motivation for the remission of sentence, which the Minister of Correctional Services presents and even that still has to go through Cabinet and be approved by the President
Responding to questions relating to the DPWI, jobs supported and international commissions, Mr Thobakgale said that the approved bed spaces for the current financial year are 107 582. In terms of the questions raised about some of the Department's challenges with the DPWI and facilities currently at 0% capacity, a tripartite Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the DPWI and other implementing agents was proposed. On 11 February 2022, a bilateral discussion was held with the Minister of Public Works and the Executive for Correctional Services and Justice, where various resolutions were adopted. The Acting National Commissioner confirmed that the action plan is currently in execution, with various decisions being taken, such as fast tracking the construction and design of new correctional centres.
A lot of emphasis has been placed on the maintenance of correctional centres in terms of their current capacity. Two Correctional Centres in the Western Cape are at 0% capacity. Gauteng has one Correctional Centre that is partially occupied and is finalised by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). KwaZulu Natal (KZN) has UMzimkhulu Correctional Centre that is currently under construction. In the region of the North West, the Brits Correctional Centre is currently being refurbished and is also on the programme for this financial year.
Additionally, National Treasury, the Government Technical Advisory Committee and the DPWI have entered into an agreement to implement an integrated renewable energy and resource efficiency programme.
Mr Delekile Klaas, Regional Commissioner: Western Cape, DCS, said that the Western Cape region is working closely with the CPF in stakeholder management, where it interacts with Communities and provides answers to issues raised on parole and religious matter. He confirmed that the Department provides CPFs and Station Commissioners with a list of parolees and works closely with them regarding monitoring. In the past, the Department has managed to make arrests partly because of the assistance of the CPF. The Department’s relationship with CPFs is a healthy one.
Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Service
Deputy Minister Holomisa addressed the Acting National Commissioner in closing, saying that he and his team have done a great job ensuring that foreigners who enter the country illegally are taken back to their countries of origin as soon as the DHA discovers them. However, even if this is the case, some foreigners get into centres because of having committed crimes and, as a result of necessity, must be subjected to court processes with the end result of being admitted into Correctional Centres. Many should have been released a long time ago, however the Department cannot just release these prisoners knowing that they are in the country illegally. The DCS therefore has to hand them over to the DHA. The DCS is looking at the possibility of meeting the two Political Heads of the Department so that it can find a way of expediting the release and deportation of illegal foreigners that end up in correctional centres. Work is being done to ensure that the Department lessens overcrowding by looking at soft targets and the question of bail.
Generally, the cooperation that the DCS requires from the DoJ or rather the courts is ensuring that those who remain incarcerated because they cannot pay even the smallest bail fine, are used by the Department because, in essence, the fact that they are given low amounts or bail, is because they do not pose that much of a danger to society. Before and during a person’s release, there should be interaction between the communities, especially in rural areas, through traditional leaders and their forums where community members can participate in the discussion of matters affecting their lives. This is essential for the Department to ensure that community embers understand why people have been sentenced for this particular purpose. It is important to ensure that communities are involved and that offenders are not released without being informed of their status by the State.
The Deputy Minister emphasised that in addition, it is important to educate the public of the need for these efforts and for the same efforts to be extended to offenders. Finally, it is important to note that offenders may seem to be living a better life than law-abiding citizens, but this is not always the case. It is therefore important to involve the community in the process of releasing offenders and to ensure that they are rehabilitated through the DCS. It is important to remember that these individuals are human beings and must not be given up on.
He also implored that society must not give up on offenders and consider what can be done beyond subjecting them to the criminal justice system. Traditional Governments do not differentiate between criminality and what is called against a person who has committed a crime. The President is not only responsible for crimes committed but is also called upon to compensate the victim. In the current system, compensation for loss is usually through the use of lawyers or committees for assault or loss of support. It then seems like the Department does not provide solace to victims of crime beyond the knowledge that this person has been taken out of society.
The Department is grateful for the guidance it has been given by Parliament, through the Justice Select and Portfolio Committees, because sometimes it is blinded by what needs to be done, forgetting the unintended consequences.
The Chairperson closed the meeting by stating that the Acting National Commissioner has raised several reports about the Thabo Bester escape and the general challenges experienced by the Department. The Deputy Minister and his team are to follow up with the Acting National Commissioner to provide them with some of the reports, such as the report on disciplinary cases, the call line report, the parolees’ programme update, and the correctional service facilities update. Additionally, the Deputy Minister will request the Acting National Commissioner to provide it with the matter of the employment equity target for people with disabilities. This engagement will culminate in a policy debate within the National Council of Provinces on Thursday, and the Deputy Minister and his team have adopted a report in relation to Justice and Constitutional Development.
The meeting was adjourned.
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