Review of the Criminal Justice System
A co-ordinating committee was set up to oversee the review of the Criminal Justice System in 2008.
A number of initiatives are underway to overhaul the Criminal Justice System in order to make it more efficient and effective. As Government we will:
- increase police personnel by 24 680 from 180 180 to 204 860 over the next three years
- provide additional funding to the Forensic Science Laboratories of R150 million for the 2008/09 financial year, and a further R50 million per year to the 2011/12 financial year
- allocate a total of 14 977 new constables to the Detective Services in the provinces after completing in-service training during this financial year.
We have already:
- Increased the number of prosecutors by 83 since April from 2 488 to 2 571.
- Established 45 backlog courts countrywide to finalise long-outstanding, trial-ready cases. At the end of August 2009, a total of 10 799 cases were finalised at an average of 10,8 cases per court per month.
- Reduced the number of awaiting-trial detainees by 1 802 from 48 547 to 46 745 between April and July 2009.
(Source: J Radebe: Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster Programme of Action briefing, 13 November 2009)
Background to the Review of the Criminal Justice System
In his February 2008 State of the Nation Address concerning the South African Criminal Justice System (CJS) President Thabo Mbeki said:
“Cabinet has agreed on a set of changes that are required to establish a new, modernised, efficient and transformed criminal justice system. Among other things, this will entail setting up a new co-ordinating and management structure for the system at every level, from national to local, bringing together the judiciary and magistracy, the police, prosecutors, correctional services and the Legal Aid Board, as well as other interventions, including the empowerment of the Community Police Forums.”
This statement by the President followed the approval by Cabinet, on 7 November 2007, of a package of seven fundamental and far-reaching transformative changes (“the CJS Seven-Point-Plan”) that must all be adopted and implemented in an integrated and holistic manner to achieve a new dynamic and coordinated Criminal Justice System.
President Mbeki announced following the July 2008 Cabinet Lekgotla that a co-ordinating committee has been set up to oversee the review of the CJS. Mr Johnny de Lange, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, has been appointed as the champion of the criminal justice review process.
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