JCPS Cluster Programme of Action Media briefing statement by Minister Jeff Radebe (MP), Chairman of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster, Imbizo Media Centre, Cape Town
13 November 2009
A special welcome to the representatives of national and international media to whom we are providing an update today on the work of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster of Government.
We welcome and value this opportunity as part of our ongoing engagement with all sectors of society, in the spirit of the official theme of Government, which declares that Working Together, We Can Do More.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is not coincidental that Ministers are today displaying their support for our National Soccer Team, Bafana Bafana. But this is part of the Football Friday campaign which was recently launched by the Honourable Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe for government employees including the executive to display the spirit of a winning nation and contribute towards a memorable World Cup. The Campaign is meant to show support for our national team, Bafana Bafana, by wearing football supporter kit every Friday until the 2010 FIFA World Cup and attend matches across the country. This campaign was initiated by the Southern Sun hotel group, and it has now become an official, national celebration. All South Africans – and anyone living in our country – are invited to fly the flag, learn the national anthem, display and embrace our national symbols with pride and display the spirit of Ubuntu to the world.
Reconfiguration of the Cluster
This brings me to the business of the day. You may recall that as part of the process of improving coordination within government and enhancing the delivery of services, the Presidency recently announced the reconfiguration of Ministerial Clusters, including JCPS.
This Cluster is now chaired by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, with the Minister of Police as Deputy Chair. Departments are:
* Correctional Services
* Defence and Military Veterans
* Home Affairs
* Justice and Constitutional Development
* State Security.
One of the cluster’s fundamental objectives is to provide for integrated approach in the implementation of programmes of different departments that fall under law enforcement and security umbrella. These programmes at the end all contribute towards a common goal, one of ensuring that our country is a place where its people will continue to live in freedom and security.
Let us now have a look at these programmes.
2010 FIFA World Cup
This Cluster will roll out a plan that will ensure that we host the first FIFA World Cup on African soil with efficiency and flair.
The following points therefore have to be reiterated:
* The South African Police Force (SAPF) is spending R640 million on the deployment of 41 000 officers specifically for the event. This includes 31 000 permanent members and 10 000 police reservists.
* There will be a total of 54 dedicated courts spread across the country to expeditiously deal with criminal matters that relate to the tournament.
* The introduction of Advance Passenger Processing in partnership with the airlines and the deployment of Immigration Liaison Officers at key international airports will ensure ease of access in and out of the country.
Home Affairs enhancements
The Home Affairs information system (HANIS) currently houses 33 million sets of fingerprints and more than 13 million pictures. This system will combat corruption and protect the integrity of our identity and travel documents.
Live capture technology has been introduced into 40 regional offices to secure data captured at front offices. It is currently used for passport applications and will be extended to identity document (ID) applications during 2010.
The abridged birth certificate has been upgraded to include the details of one parent (especially the mother). The inclusion of additional information will go a long way in curbing the misuse of birth certificates.
We are establishing a single border management entity in line with international practice. It will result in a uniform and integrated approach to securing the border line and managing ports of entry.
Criminal Justice System Review
A number of initiatives are currently underway to overhaul the Criminal Justice System in order to make it more efficient and effective. These interventions include the following:
* Police personnel will be increased by 24 680 from 180 180 to 204 860 over the next three years.
* The capacity of the Forensic Science Laboratories will increase by an additional funding of R150 million for the 2008/09 financial year, and a further R50 million per year to the 2011/12 financial year.
* A total of 14 977 new constables will be allocated to the Detective Services in the provinces after completing in-service training during this financial year.
* The number of prosecutors has increased by 83 since April from 2 488 to 2 571.
* To assist the speedy resolution of trials, 45 backlog courts have to date been established 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.
* The number of awaiting-trial detainees was reduced by 1 802 from 48 547 to 46 745 between April and July this year.
War on Crime
This Cluster is investigating ways to establish and strengthen Community Safety Forums that will go beyond the “neighbourhood watch” model of securing communities, to instead look at how various Government and community stakeholders can work together to build stable, cohesive, caring and vigilant communities.
During the period under review, nine organised crime projects were successfully terminated and 53 related arrests were made.
Also during this time, 5 080 illegal firearms were confiscated.
National Defence Force
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is fulfilling its constitutional mandate to defend the country and its people. We will maintain our commitments within and outside the borders of the Republic. We commit to a dedicated military force that performs its duties with resolve.
On Military Veterans: To recognise contribution the Military Veterans made towards achieving democracy we have established a Ministerial Task Team on Military Veterans consisting of members of the Military Veterans Associations and representatives of various stakeholders.
Overcrowded prisons – large numbers of awaiting-trial detainees who cannot afford small amounts of bail set by the courts – and the need to successfully reintegrate former prisoners into society, remain significant challenges in the area of corrections.
To address these challenges, we will use provisions under the Criminal Procedures Act that allow accused persons or prosecutors to apply to courts to reduce the amount of bail set by relevant courts, or that allow the heads of correctional centres to release accused persons on warning in lieu of bail. We have Bail Protocol in place signed by all the JCPS cluster departments to facilitate for this.
While nearly 15 000 prisoners are participating in literacy, basic education and training, and further education and training programmes, this represents a small proportion of the overall prison population, and demands that more be done to equip a greater number of offenders for their return to society.
Issued by: Department of Justice and Correctional Services
13 November 2009