Budget vote speech of the Department of Correctional Services by Deputy Minister, Ms Hlengiwe Mkhize to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Cape Town
26 May 2010
Honourable Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP)
Honourable members of the NCOP
It is my pleasure to get this opportunity to present the budget vote speech of Correctional Services to this very important house. Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was looking forward to this opportunity, to mark the beginning of our second year in office, but due to other commitments emanating from the vibrancy of this legislature, she could not realise her wishes.
It is also an honour for me to introduce our new National Commissioner, Mr Tom Moyane and new Chief Financial Officer Mr Siphiwe Sokhela, who both assumed duties on the 15th of this month. Mr Moyane brings in a wealth of experience in strategic leadership and management and in turning around ailing or struggling institutions.
The CFO’s performance outcomes over the past ten years in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature speak for themselves as they received an unqualified audit report for nine consecutive years. Their appointment marks a turning point in executive management instability that plagued the Department of Correctional Services for some time now. We believe these great sons of our soil bring strategic and operational understanding as leaders and managers that will firmly place the department on a path to clean audit reports and a better image.
An expression of appreciation goes to the Chairperson and Members of the NCOP for their continued support. I would like to acknowledge management and all the correctional officials, who work tirelessly to deliver services to our people. I wish to express our warm gratitude to them, for their guidance and support during our orientation. Allow me chairperson to acknowledge all our partners and our offenders present here today
My presentation to the house, of our five-year strategic plan, could not have come at a better time than after the signing of performance agreement between Minister Mapisa-Nqakula and our President, Mr Jacob Zuma, the President of the Republic of South Africa. The minister and myself are fully committed to ensuring that, the Department of Correctional Services enhances its capabilities and contributes to our ultimate goal, which is that, “All People in South Africa Are and Feel Safe.”
To realise this critical outcome of the whole criminal justice system, Correctional Services will make a contribution to the following service delivery outputs:
* Improve effectiveness and integration of the criminal justice system
* Combat corruption within the Justice, crime prevention and Security Cluster to enhance its effectiveness as a deterrent against crime
* Manage perceptions of crime among the population.
In line with government’s plan to make 2010/11, a year of action, the agreement spells out clear and measurable performance targets against which the performance of the Minister and, by inference everyone else in the department, will be measured going forward. As testimony that government is indeed geared to work differently and better, the performance targets have been graphically spelt out on each area, placing emphasis on among others:
* Improvement of numbers of offenders participating and benefiting from formal and informal development, care and corrections programmes
* Improving the efficiency of the remand detention system by reducing backlogs, years spent awaiting trial and numbers of cases finalised each year
* Intensifying the detection, processing of cases and increasing conviction rates of those perpetrating fraud and corruption within the system as a starting point in fighting the scourge in society as a whole
* Ensuring that victims and the population receive accurate information on the state of crime and justice in order to build trust in the criminal justice system
* Strengthening of collaboration and integration of IT systems and efforts to combat cyber crime.
These targets will be pursued with vigour without neglecting the ongoing responsibilities of the Department of Correctional Services. The ongoing responsibilities on their own also directly or indirectly contribute in ensuring a safe environment where people in South Africa would be free of the debilitating scourge of crime that renders them less productive.
Promoting good governance
Chairperson, I am happy to announce that in the previous financial year 89 percent of 109 officials detected, investigated and put through disciplinary processes were found guilty and sanctioned. We attribute this to our formidable minimum anti-corruption capacity built over the years to spearhead our zero tolerance of fraud and corruption. We have already recovered R2.5 million of the expected R4.5 million from hundreds of officials in KwaZulu-Natal that defrauded the department’s medical aid scheme. These officials signed the acknowledgement of debt. I can say without fear of contradiction, we are indeed winning the war on corruption.
We remain committed to improve on this level of performance by sharpening the implementation of mechanisms to prevent, detect and respond to fraud and corruption in the department.
Improve effectiveness and integration of the work of the criminal justice system
We have pledged to ensure heightened implementation of the White Paper on Corrections which places rehabilitation of offenders at the heart of all our operations. When we presented our budget vote last year, we acknowledged and expressed our heartfelt gratitude to our predecessors, Minister Ngconde Balfour and Deputy Minister Loretta Jacobus. In the context of rehabilitation programmes for offenders, we committed ourselves to build on their foundation.
From our national and international experiences gained since our assumption of leadership of this department, we are beginning to formulate a clearer vision of establishing sustainable approach to offence specific rehabilitation programs. This approach carries with it hopes of a more profound change in offending behaviour of inmates and in reducing recidivism. Addressing the National Assembly in March this year, Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said, “We are facing a challenge of “deep seated social problem” that fuels crime. It is against this understanding that we believe more than ever before that a more developmental approach is the best intervention for Corrections.
Armed with this understanding, we have committed ourselves to:
* Intervene to balance our investment on security and rehabilitation. To realise this we will among others review and reduce our personnel expenditure from 69 percent of the allocated R15.1 billion to 63 percent within this term of government. These adjustments are intended to create space for re-allocation of resources to strengthen rehabilitation and reduce re-offending. We will be periodically reporting on progress in increasing numbers of offenders able to access both formal and informal development, care and correction programmes.
* Vulnerable groups will also be prioritised, ensuring that among others education and development of offender skills is made mandatory for school going youths. This will begin by ensuring that those under the age of 15 who by law must be at school do indeed study. While those falling outside of these compulsory education provisions will be incentivised to ensure that they subject themselves to education and training in order to address both absolute and functional illiteracy dearth of skills among offenders. They need to be prepared for productive and crime free lives after release.
* To paying particular attention to offenders displaying symptoms of mental illness. During our visits to correctional centres, we came across disturbing cases of incarcerated offenders. We do not have the capacity to manage complex conditions like mental illness. We have invited experts from the relevant fields to address this challenge.
* Although women, children, disabled and elderly offenders constitute a small minority of the total offender population, appropriate attention will be given to creating an enabling environment for promotion of human dignity. As part of a bigger campaign in this regard we have now launched the Imbeleko Campaign, across all regions that is aimed at ensuring appropriate environment for incarcerated mothers with babies, while intensifying the alternative placement of children who have exceeded the legal threshold of two years.
* To supporting the Judicial Inspectorate on Correctional Services, to ensure a conscious protection of human rights of offenders. The role of the inspecting judge was fortified when on 1 October, 2009; sections 60 to 67 of the Correctional Services Amendment Act 25 of 2008 were put into operation by the proclamation in the Government Gazette.
Manage perceptions of crime among the community
Perceptions can be everything for the beholder. Currently the department is receiving more than a fair share of negative publicity and perceptions, some of which are a sheer product of ignorance. We have committed ourselves to step up efforts to provide the public and the media with accurate information they required to effectively participate in the transformation of the correctional system and in improving delivery of services.
To advance this cause we will review the corrections contact centre launched in July 2009 to serve internal publics for purposes of ensuring a caring, responsive and accessible correctional system for the public and all stakeholders.
Another critical platform for people’s engagement in corrections is the parole system. We have advertised positions of Chairpersons of 52 Correctional Supervision and Parole Boards (CSPB) and the due date is Friday this week. The new chairpersons are expected to assume duties in July 2010, replacing the first group whose five-year contracts end in June 2010. We will pull off all to maximise victim participation in the administration of parole in particular and in correctional services delivery in general. We trust that these engagements will help in building public trust and confidence in our Correctional system.
As earlier alluded to, there are a number of other standing responsibilities which the department commits to deliver on which include overcrowding, security enhancement, optimising of offender labour, stakeholder mobilisation and strengthening of monitoring, evaluation and reporting particularly against the indicators outlined in our strategic plan.
Offender population management
A multi pronged strategy of addressing the perennial challenge of overcrowding is being pursued. This strategy incorporates audit of inmates in order to use various legal provisions to down manage overcrowding, construction of facilities and rationalisation of facilities, as well as the establishment of dedicated branch for managing remand detainees.
The minister has appointed a special task team to audit various categories of inmates for purposes of determining those deserving consideration for parole, reclassification, bail protocol and conversion of custodial sentences into correctional supervision. This task team has now covered two regions, Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
The Kimberly Correctional Centre has been completed and over 2000 offenders have been transferred to the facility as part of a phased populating of the centre that can take up to 3 000 offenders. Progress is being made to establish a dedicated Remand Detention Branch with additional support systems being rolled out like the Video Remand Court System and the introduction of Automated Personal Identification System (APIS) that is in place in 14 Correctional Centres.
We are still on course in our procurement of Public Private Partnership (PPP) facilities as well as revamping and renovation of a number of existing facilities that together are expected to deliver more than 20 000 additional bed spaces by 2014. We have engaged the CSIR for purposes of auditing our facilities as part of rationalising and optimising our deployment of physical, financial and human resources.
Although we are progressively succeeding in reducing escapes achieving the lowest record of 40 escapes in 2009, we view one more escape particularly from maximum facilities, as one more too much. We target to reduce escapes by a further 31 percent by 2015 through strengthening security structures, emergency security teams and dealing decisively with corrupt elements colluding to enable escapes.
Optimising of offender labour
We continue to mobilise resources, both in private and public, so as to ensure that each and every offender has an opportunity to acquire skills and expertise through productive work, in preparation for their integration into society on release.
Building institutional capacity to deliver better
One of the most strategic resources is our personnel. They carry our hopes and aspirations for an effective correctional system. We will continue to improve implementation of various OSDs applicable in Correctional Services, heighten the rollout of the seven-day establishment while also going ahead to fill critical vacancies in particular among scarce skills this year.
We want to assure this house and the public that the Department of Correctional Services will manage to deliver on the targets set for the financial year within the allocated budget of R15.1 billion, projected to grow at an annual rate of 9.7 percent over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). As demonstrated by the stringent management of budget for the previous financial year, we will again not over spend on our allocation.
Chairperson, I can confidently state that we are poised to accelerate the transformation of correctional services and improve service delivery. We have geared ourselves to enhance integration of the work of our partners within government and all other stakeholders to ensure that all people in South Africa are and feel safe.
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Correctional Services
26 May 2010
Source: Department of Correctional Services (http://www-dcs.pwv.gov.za/)
Issued by: Department of Correctional Services
26 May 2010
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