COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES’ BUDGETARY REVIEW AND
RECOMMENDATION REPORT ON THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES’ PERFORMANCE
IN 2013/14, AND THE FIRST HALF OF THE CURRENT FINANCIAL YEAR, DATED 29 OCTOBER
1.1. The Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act (2009) provides for, amongst others, a parliamentary procedure to amend Money Bills. This procedure grants parliamentary committees greater opportunity to influence the allocation of funds to the departments they oversee. Section 5 compels the National Assembly, through its committees to submit annual Budgetary Review and Recommendation (BRR) reports on the financial performance of departments accountable to them. The BRR report must be informed by a Committee’s interrogation of, amongst others, national departments’ estimates of national expenditure, strategic priorities and measurable objectives, National Treasury-published expenditure reports, the relevant annual reports and financial statements, as well as observations made during all other oversight activities.
1.2. According to section 2 of the Correctional Services’ Act (Act 111 of 1998), the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) contributes towards maintaining and protecting a just, peaceful, and safe society, by enforcing court-imposed sentences in the manner prescribed by the Act, detaining inmates in safe custody while promoting social responsibility and the human development of all offenders and persons subject to community corrections.
1.3 According to section 85(1) of the Act, the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services is an independent office under the control of the Inspecting Judge. The JICS is mandated to facilitate inspections of correctional centres, in order for the Inspecting Judge to report on the treatment of inmates, and conditions of incarceration. In addition, the Inspecting Judge has powers to inspect correctional and remand centres; handle complaints; conduct investigations; and make rules consistent with the legislation.
1.4 In addition to its other obligations, the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services (the Committee) oversees the DCS and JICS in their efforts to deliver on their mandates. To this end, the Committee should monitor the implementation of, and adherence to policies such as the White Papers on Corrections in South Africa and Remand Detention; relevant legislation; principles of good governance; efficient spending, and service delivery in line with their mandates, strategic objectives, and government policies and priorities.
1.5 In preparing to report on the DCS and JICS’s financial and service delivery performance in the period under review the Committee considered, amongst others, previous reports and recommendations related to their service delivery and financial performance; the DCS’s 2013/14 Annual Report and Financial Statements; the JICS’s 2013/14 Annual Report; National Treasury-published expenditure reports; and stakeholder-input on the DCS and JICS’s performance.
1.6 The above-mentioned stakeholder hearings were held on 14 and 15 October respectively. The following stakeholders made submissions: Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative, Lawyers for Human Rights, Wits Justice Project, Gender Health and Justice Research Unit (University of Cape Town), National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders, Just Detention International, Sonke Gender Justice Network, Treatment Action Campaign, Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, and the Public Servants Association of South Africa. The stakeholder interactions were an important part of the still new Committee’s preparation for the interrogation of the JICS and DCS’s performance.
1.7 It should be noted that this review is required just a few months after the Committee was established. We are still in the process of developing a method for managing our workload which has substantially increased since the merging of the Correctional Services and Justice and Constitutional Development portfolios. Given the circumstances, the input received from stakeholders on not only the DCS and JICS’s performance in the period under review, but also on their performance in the preceding years, the Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services’ Handover Report (March 2014), and interactions held during the July 2014 consideration of the DCS and JICS’s 2014/15 budgets, were extremely valuable to the Committee’s preparation.
PART A: DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
2. 2013/14 Annual Report and Financial Statements
2.1 Findings of the Auditor General of South Africa
2.1.1 The DCS received a qualified audit in respect of movable tangible capital assets: the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) could not trace movable tangible capital assets disclosed in note 32 of the financial statement, and valued at approximately R73 million. The DCS was, therefore, found to have contravened section 40(1)(a)-(b) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). Key material findings are outlined in paragraphs 2.1.2 to 2.1.9 below:
2.1.2 A total of 50% of the indicators under the Incarceration programme were not well defined, and a significant number did not relate logically and directly to an aspect of the DCS’s mandate, and the realisation of strategic goals and objectives as per their five-year strategic plan. In addition, significant important targets were materially misstated.
2.1.3 A total of 50% of the targets under the Rehabilitation programme were not time-bound, and 75% of the indicators were not well defined. None of the reported objectives were consistent with those in the strategic plan that was approved. Significant important targets were materially misstated.
2.1.4 The DCS did not comply with certain laws and regulations. The National Commissioner did not always ensure that effective, efficient and transparent systems of financial and risk management and internal controls, as required by Section 38(1)(a) of PFMA, were maintained. Furthermore, systems to collect and report performance were found to be inadequate. Specific and appropriate information systems to monitor the progress made towards achieving the goals, targets and core objectives as indicated in the Annual Performance Plan were not implemented and operational (Public Service Regulation Part IIIB.1(f)(i)(ii)).
2.1.5 The Auditor General found a number of weaknesses in the DCS’s procurement processes, and contract management: some DCS employees performed remunerative work outside of their employment, and without written permission from the relevant authority (section 30 of the Public Service Act); some employees whose family members, partners or associates had a private or business interest in contracts awarded by the DCS, failed to disclose such interest (Treasury Regulation 16A8.4); awards were sometimes made to suppliers that were listed on the National Treasury’s database as persons prohibited from doing business with the public sector (Treasury Regulation 16A9.1(c)).
2.1.6 In respect of the DCS’s financial and performance management, measures were in place to improve record-keeping but information, especially relating to predetermined objectives, was not always readily available. It was also found that the controls were not always excercised/implemented over daily and monthly processing and reconciling of transactions; and that although the DCS was aware of the laws and regulations that it had to comply with, monitoring of compliance remained inadequate.
2.1.7 Although risk assessments were conducted, strategies to address the identified risks were not always effective: recurring misstatements remained high; and there were persistent control weaknesses in the financial reporting process. Although the DCS had an internal audit function to assist its management in maintaining efficient and effective systems of internal control through evaluation and the development of recommendations for improvement, no evidence could be obtained that the appropriate level of management assessed the effectiveness of the internal audit function on a regular/periodic basis.
2.1.8 There was no evidence that the audit committee had reviewed the effectiveness of the internal control systems (Treasury Regulation 3.1.10(a)); the effectiveness of the internal audit function (Treasury Regulation 3.1.10(b)); or the DCS’s compliance with legal and regulatory provisions (Treasury Regulation 3.1.10(f)). No evidence could be obtained that one of the existing audit committee members’ services had been prematurely terminated and that that had been communicated to the Minister of Correctional Services (Treasury Regulation 3.2.7(d)).
2.1.9 A number of findings were made in relation to the quality of the DCS’s leadership. The appropriate level of management did not regularly review reporting as is best practice and required by the PFMA. This finding was made in relation to management regions especially. Inaccurate reports pertaining to both financial information as well as predetermined objectives were submitted to the national department, with limited or no review. Key positions were vacant for significant periods of time, and occupied by employees in acting capacities. Despite having designed an action plan to address internal control deficiencies that were identified by external auditors, the plan had not been fully implemented at the time of the audit.
2.2.1 The DCS was allocated an adjusted budget of approximately R18,75 billion in 2013/14, the bulk of which was spent on compensation of employees. The DCS spent 99,7% of its budget, and managed to reduce its underspending from R386,7 million in 2012/13 to R48,48 million in 2013/14.
2.2.2 Virements totalling just over R293 million were effected in 2013/14: R134,051 million was shifted from the Administration programme to the Care and Incarceration programmes; R79,692 million was shifted from the Rehabilittaion programme to the Incarceration programme; and R79,260 million from the Care programme. Most of the funds were moved from budgets intended for the compensation of employees, and used for agency support/outsourced services for the inmates nutritional services catering contract (Care programme); and compensation of employees (Incarceration programme).
2.2.3 The DCS’s fruitless and wasteful expenditure decreased from R34,7 million in 2012/13 to R8,1 million in 2013/14. The expenditure was incurred in relation to, amongst others, incorrect payments to suppliers (R709 000), and the late cancellation of the 100 Years Celebration (R278 000), failure to attend training (R 32 000) and cancellation of travelling (R41 000). At the time of reporting all incidents of fruitless and wasteful expenditure were under investigation.
2.2.4 Irregular expnditure showed an increase from R215,6 million in 2012/13 to R579 million in 2013/14. The irregular expanditure was incurred owing to, amongst others, improper procurement processes (R16,7 million); the unavailability of a service level agreement (R15,5 million) and payments of medical accounts (R9,1 million). At the time of reporting, all incidents of irregular expenditure were under investigation.
2.2.5 The DCS received R117,129 million in revenue, collected from amongst others fines, penalties, sales of goods and services, and financial transactions in assets and liabilities.
2.2.6 The expenditure on compensation of employees increased from R9,1 billion in 2012/13 to R9,8 billion in 2013/14, and 81% of the expenditure went towards salaries. Performance bonuses decreased from R98,274 million in 2012/13, to R83,333 million in 2013/14.
2.2.7 Expenditure on Goods and Services increased from R4,9 billion in 2012/13 to R5,3 billion in 2013/14. Of that amount R819 million was paid to Consultants, Contractors and Outsourced Services; R242 million was spent on travelling and subsistence; and R93,595 million on computer services. The Committee also noted the slight increase in the expenditure on external audit services from R43 million in 2012/13 to R47,347 million in 2013/14.
2.2.8 Claims against the DCS increased from R545,626 million in 2012/13 to R984,317 million in 2013/14. R448,489 million of this amount was in respect of liabilities incurred in 2013/14, for amongst others defamation (R278,636 million); unlawful detention (R91,169 million) and bodily injury/assaults (R23,158 million). In the period under review the DCS paid liabilities amounting to R9,8 million.
2.3 Performance across programmes
Programme 1: Administration
2.3.1 The Administration programme comprises the Management, Finance and Corporate Services sub-programmes, and received a final appropriation of R5,15 billion. Despite having spent this entire allocation, only 40% of the nine targets were achieved.
2.3.2 The filling of vacancies in senior positions across the Criminal Justice System (CJS) was identified as a government priority in 2013. Per the Annual Report only 41 825 of the DCS’s 44 234 approved posts had been filled by the end 2013/14. The vacancy rate increased from 4,1% in 2012/13 to 5,4% in 2013/14. The following key management positions had, at the time of reporting, been vacant for up to two years - National Commissioner; Chief Deputy Commissioner: Strategic Management; Chief Financial Officer; Chief Audit Executive; Regional Commissioner: Limpopo/Mpumalanga/North West; Deputy Commissioner: Internal Control and Compliance; Deputy Commissioner: Legal Services. The 0,26% under-expenditure reported under the Finance sub-programme was due to vacancies that could not be filled, largely owing to poor management of selection and appointment processes.
2.3.3 The DCS exceeded the target for participation in training in line with the workplace skills plan (WSP) by 6 063, but no information is provided with regard to the impact the training has had on the DCS’s service delivery; the circumstances that had led to the higher than expected participation, and how the increased participation had been accommodated.
2.3.4 The fight against corruption remains a government priority and, according to its Annual Report, the DCS has made some progress in this regard. The number of disciplinary cases decreased from 3 567 in 2012/13 to 2 985 in 2013/14. In addition the number of theft, fraud, bribery and corruption cases reported, continued to decrease from the 152 reported in 2011/12 to 87 in 2013/14.
2.3.5 Its under-capacitated legal services unit notwithstanding, the DCS exceeded the target to defend every case brought against it – all cases brought against it were defended. Of interest is what the impact of this success has been, particularly as the DCS paid liabilities to the amount of R9,8 million in the period under review, and the reported increase in claims against the Department (see paragraph 2.2.8 above). Quarterly reports should in future provide the outcome of the matters defended.
2.3.6 The strengthening of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) relies heavily on the integration of Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster (JCPS cluster) departments’ strategies. Such integration depends on the success with which IT solutions supporting the offender and remand detainee management system are implemented. It is noted that the DCS had all but met its targets in relation to the inter-operability of the Integrated Justice System (IJS), and the Integrated Correctional Management System (ICMS). In both cases the business process re-engineering projects were 99% completed. This success is noted, but concerns remain about the pace at which the DCS’s IT solutions for effective inmate management especially are implemented.
2.3.7 It is noted that the DCS has identified the review of its human resource policy as one of its future policy initiatives. Given the DCS’s serious human resource-related challenges and leadership instability, progress in this regard will be closely monitored.
Programme 2: Incarceration
2.3.8 The Incarceration programme comprises the Security Operations, Remand Detention, Facilities, and Offender Management sub-programmes. The programme received a final appropriation of R10, 4 billion, the bulk of which was spent on Security Operations. Despite having spent its entire budget, only 40% of the ten targets were achieved.
2.3.9 The number of assaults on inmates has increased from 5 284 in 2011/12 to 7 370 in 2013/14. The Committee shares stakeholders’ concern about the DCS’s failure to disaggregate assaults to indicate whether they were perpetrated by inmates or officials. In its annual report the JICS indicates that it investigated 109 assaults by officials on inmates in the period under review. In several instances the DCS had failed to provide the JICS with its own internal investigation reports.
2.3.10 As in previous reports, the DCS again failed to disaggregate assaults to indicate the number of sexual assaults and/or rape. This remains a serious concern, as lack of knowledge of these statistics draws into question the DCS’s capacity and commitment to identifying categories of offenders who may be vulnerable to sexual assault. Failure to identify vulnerable categories of inmates could result in the sexual violence which is reported to be rife in correctional centres, to continue. The DCS adopted the Policy Framework to Address the Sexual Abuse of Inmates in the Department of Correctional Services in March 2013 but it is not referred to in the annual report. The Committee agrees that the DCS has an obligation to identify vulnerable offenders upon admission, and to ensure that they are adequately protected. The lack/inadequacy of screening of offenders for vulnerability to sexual violence and exploitation that was raised during stakeholder interactions, and in the briefings by the DCS and JICS, is of major concern and will be explored further in the course of our oversight.
2.3.11 The discrepancies in the DCS and JICS’s statistics pertaining to unnatural deaths are a cause for concern. According to the JICS’s annual report, 634 deaths were reported in 2013/14. According to the JICS, 46 of these deaths were ‘unnatural’, and in ten cases the cause of death remained unknown. The DCS in turn reported 61 unnatural deaths, of which 24 were owing to still unknown causes. At the time of reporting the discrepancy had not yet been satisfactorily explained.
2.3.12 The DCS reported nine deaths caused by assault, and according to the JICS they were perpetrated by inmates. Neither report gives any indication of whether the nine incidents were reported to the police for investigation, and if so what the outcome was.
2.3.13 Twenty-five suicides were reported in the period under review, and per the JICS in 21 instances the inmates had hanged themselves. According to the JICS’s analysis of their findings in relation to suicides, the vast majority could have been prevented had the DCS’s supervision, risk assessment processes, compliance with health policies, and mandatory reporting been adequate.
2.3.14 As the DCS must report all deaths in correctional centres, and given the JICS’s responsibility to, through its monitoring of conditions of incarceration and the treatment of offenders, contribute to the safe incarceration of inmates, the inconsistent reporting raises concerns. Unnatural deaths in incarceration are unacceptable, and every death should be investigated in order to establish its cause. Both the DCS and JICS have an obligation to ascertain the cause of death, and where a death could have been prevented had adequate care been taken, introduce remedial action.
2.3.15 The DCS ascribes the increase in escapes from 43 in 2011/12 to 60 in 2013/14, to an increase in ‘group escapes’. The increase, regardless of the cause, demands urgent attention.
2.3.16 The 63,3% increase in gang-related incidents is noted with concern. Apart from gang activity undoubtedly contributing to the assaults and deaths reported, the sharp increase may also point to complicity on the part of officials. The DCS should, as a matter of extreme urgency, identify risk areas that require immediate attention. A long-term strategy should be developed in order to ensure that all officials, especially those charged with custodial and security responsibility, are vetted.
2.3.17 It is noted with concern that despite the vast sums spent on renovating and building new facilities, the DCS has again failed to meet targets in relation to the creation of additional bed-spaces. As in the past slow progress by contractors was cited as the main reason for the non-achievement of targets. Overcrowding too contributes to poor monitoring and supervision, especially given the DCS’s shortage of security personnel and inadequate infrastructure. Delays in the completion of renovation and construction projects therefore have a major impact on the DCS’s ability to provide safe and secure incarceration.
2.3.18 The Committee has noted the progress made in relation to remand detention management. However, we remain concerned about the length of time spent waiting trial. While the percentage of detainees with bail who were placed under non-custodial supervision had increased owing to heads of centres’ timeous submission of the relevant applications to courts, poor court management and delays in the finalisation of cases are reported to have hampered the reduction in time spent awaiting trial.
2.3.19 The DCS is charged with ensuring the safe and secure incarceration of inmates. The high incidence of escape, assault and deaths in incarceration remains a serious concern, and strategies for improving security should be explored with greater urgency.
Programme 3: Rehabilitation
2.3.20 The Rehabilitation programme comprises the Correctional Programmes; Offender Development; as well as the Psychological, Social and Spiritual services sub-programmes. The DCS perennially underspends on this programme. The programme received a final appropriation of R998, 02 million. Only 95. 2% of the budget was spent owing to the delay in the filling of funded posts. Of the eight targets set, 70% were met.
2.3.21 The DCS ascribed its under-performance in relation to inmate participation in education programmes as prescribed by their sentence plans, to the shortage of educators, inadequate infrastructure and reluctance from inmates to participate in education programmes.
2.3.22 The target in relation to offenders’ participation FET college programmes could not be met owing to lack of National Skills Fund funding, and shortage of technical educationists and artisans to deliver skills-based programmes.
2.3.23 While targets in relation to the provision of social work and spiritual services had been exceeded, the acute shortage of psychologists (the DCS reported a 24.3% psychologist-vacancy rate) has resulted in under-performance in relation to the provision of psychological services. This remains a concern, not only because it impacts on the DCS’s ability to implement programmes aimed at correcting offending behaviour, but also because it impacts on its ability to support those new inmates who may need specialist interventions to cope with the trauma of incarceration.
Programme 4: Care
2.3.24 The Care programme comprises the Nutrition Services, Hygiene Services, and Health Services sub-programmes. The programme received a final appropriation of R1,79 billion. All five targets were achieved.
2.3.25 The DCS has succeeded in recruiting officials to work in food services units, upgrade facilities to provide food services, and monitor equipment to ensure that they were maintained and functioned well. This is a commendable achievement and good progress towards the DCS’s self-reliance as far as the provision of nutrition services.
2.3.26 Section 35(2)(e) of the Constitution obliges the state to the provision of adequate health care. This obligation is given effect in the provisions of the Correctional Services, Health and Mental Health Care legislation. Although the DCS did not provide statistics in relation to its delivery of adequate health care services, the JICS reports that it had received only 98 health care-related concerns in 2013/14, and that this figure was much lower than expected. Of these, 21 related to the failure to provide medical treatment, and an additional 21 to provision of inadequate medical treatment. The JICS’s comment that the complaints may be under-reported is a concern, particularly given the constitutional obligation on the state to provide adequate health care. The Committee looks forward to improved reporting in this regard.
2.3.27 The DCS reports that it has met its target in relation to both the TB cure rate, and the provision of anti-retroviral therapy (ART). The spread of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis is exacerbated in confined and congested environments, and, therefore, the work done in this regard should continue. In addition, more should be done to create an environment in which inmates feel able to report sexual offences. Unless such cases are reported, and trends in this regard monitored, it will not be possible to put preventative mechanisms in place to protect vulnerable offenders, and to prevent HIV- and other infections.
2.3.28 In 2013, the DCS had indicated that the spending focus over the medium term would be on improving treatment for mental illness. According to the JICS’s annual report, the DCS has 83 state patients in its care. The situation, which is largely out of the DCS’s control, is of serious concern because the DCS has neither the resources nor infrastructure to meet the needs of inmates with mental illnesses that cannot be controlled. Incarcerating such persons with other inmates and in the care of personnel that have not been trained to manage such conditions, places the patient, other inmates and officials at risk.
Programme 5: Social Reintegration
2.3.29 The Social Reintegration programme comprises the Parole Administration, Supervision, Community Reintegration, and Office Accommodation: Community Corrections sub-programmes. The programme received a final appropriation of R289 million. Of the nine targets set, 70% were achieved.
2.3.30 That the DCS was unable to meet targets in relation to inmates considered for parole, is noted with concern. According to the annual report, case management committees (CMCs) succeeded in preparing case files, but correctional supervision and parole boards (CSPBs) could not consider all cases owing to lack of capacity. The Committee has noted previous recommendations that the administration of parole requires review, and agrees that this should be prioritised.
2.3.31 The Committee is pleased to note that targets in relation to victim participation had been exceeded by just under 3%. Efforts to increase victim participation should be accelerated, to ensure that the restorative justice programme has the intended effect i.e. ensuring that not only victims, but all individuals and communities affected by crime, feel safe and have their trust in the justice system restored. Restorative justice efforts such as victim participation in the parole process should start as early as possible after sentencing so that the perception that such efforts were merely for compliance with parole requirements, is combatted.
2.3.32 The DCS did not meet the target in relation to the rollout of electronic monitoring, and only succeeded to tag 288 of the intended 500 offenders. No reasons were provided for the failure to finalise the roll-out. The Committee notes that the DCS has identified electronic monitoring as an area that requires further development and debate, and that an Electronic Monitoring policy may be pursued in future. This development is welcomed, and every effort should be made to accelerate work done in this regard, so as to ensure the rollout of the programme to as many categories of parolees and probationers as possible, and not only to parolees who are serving life sentences. Electronic Monitoring will assist as far as managing the inmate population, and reducing overcrowding is concerned.
2.3.33 The Committee has noted that the Approved Awareness Strategy on alternative non-custodial sentences and measures under the system of Community Corrections was implemented as intended. The strategy is welcomed, but more clarity should be provided with regard to the impact it is supposed to have (other than greater awareness), and the extent of the DCS’s efforts to make alternative sentences an attractive and viable option to judicial officers. The success as far as lowering parole and probation violations, should be built on as these inspire confidence in the DCS’s ability to manage those serving their sentences outside of correctional centres. The Committee agrees that together with electronic monitoring, improved parole administration, and well managed supervision, alternatives to custodial sentences will go along way towards alleviating the challenges and risks associated with overcrowding.
3. Performance between 1 April and 30 June 2014
This section, which is an overview of the DCS’s performance in the first quarter of the 2014/15 financial year, should be read along with the Committee’s report on the Department of Correctional Services’ 2014/15 budget (Vote 21) published in July 2014.
3.1 Summary of financial and programme performance
By the end of the first quarter 2014/15 the DCS had spent 23.1% of its budget. Although 1,3% lower than what was projected, this was an improvement on the 22,7% that was spent in the first quarter of the previous financial year. Expenditure on all programmes was below target. The biggest variance between the projected and actual spending was reported in relation to the Rehabilitation programme.
Programme 1: Administration
3.1.1 Only 21,9% of the Administration programme’s allocation was spent i.e. 0,7% less than expected. Lower than planned spending occurred on all sub-programmes, except Ministry and Finance.
3.1.2 Most of the targets are to be measured annually, and work towards meeting them is reportedly in progress. Seven of the eight targets measured quarterly were achieved. The target relating to actual against projected expenditure was not met: the DCS underspent in the first quarter. Targets to be closely monitored during quarterly reviews relate to the DCS IT environment and include: progress made as far as the procurement of an integrated inmate management system; the implementation of the electronic monitoring system; the upgrading of infrastructure to establish an automated and integrated core operations support system; the design and implementation of phase 1 of centralised and virtualised server architecture; and the implementation of security VPN (virtual private network). At the time of reporting the DCS could not yet provide a status report in relation to the implementation of a security VPN.
3.1.3 The Committee will monitor developments related to the DCS’s IT-environment, which is integral to improved inmate management, improved risk management, improved and reliable reporting, and, crucially, the successful integration of the justice system.
Programme 2: Incarceration
3.1.4 Only 24,1% of the Incarceration programme’s allocation was spent i.e. 1,1% lower than projected. Expenditure was lower than expected on all sub-programmes, except Offender Management. Under-expenditure was greatest in relation to the Security Operations, and Remand Detention sub-programmes, and was due largely to unfilled posts.
3.1.5 The DCS reported that 82% of its targets in this programme were achieved. Except for targets in the Offender Management sub-programme, all targets were reportedly either achieved or in progress. The target not achieved related to the reduction of the inmate population: overcrowding stood at 30% at the end of June i.e. 1% higher than targeted. The DCS intends to create 480 bed-spaces in 2014/15; no progress was reported because the target is to be measured annually.
Programme 3: Rehabilitation
3.1.6 Expenditure on the Rehabilitation programme was 4,3% lower than the planned 22,7%. The greatest under-expenditure was reported in relation to this programme, with the largest variance reported in relation to the Correctional Programmes sub-programme.
3.1.7 The DCS reported that it had met 43% of the targets for this programme. Of seven targets, three were measured annually and were reportedly in progress, three were achieved and one was not achieved. Of interest is that despite its psychologist and social worker-shortage targets related to psychological and social work services were exceeded. Given the DCS’s artisan shortage, the under performance in relation to skills development programmes was expected, but remains a cause for concern.
3.1.8 Given the under-performance in 2013/14 in relation to education and skills programmes, and the poor delivery of psychological services, the DCS’s performance in this regard should be monitored, in order to track progress as far as achieving the targets set for participation in AET and FET education programmes (80%) and psychological services (14%). Challenges experienced should be brought to the Committee’s attention immediately, in order for interventions to be recommended.
Programme 4: Care
3.1.9 Only 20,9% of the 23,7% projected in relation to the Care programme was spent i.e. 2,7% lower than planned. All targets in relation to the programme were achieved.
3.1.10 Given the challenges associated with curbing the spread of communicable diseases, which are exacerbated by still severely inappropriate infrastructure, overcrowding, and inadequate medical care and personnel, the Committee is particularly interested in progress made as far as the management of tuberculosis, and similar infections.
Programme 5: Social Reintegration
3.1.11 The Social Reintegration programme spent 22% of its budget, and expenditure was 2,9% lower than projected.
3.1.12 The DCS reported that 71% of the targets in relation to this programmes were achieved i.e. five of the seven targets. The under-performance in relation to parole consideration, and participation in restorative justice programmes will be monitored.
PART B: JUDICIAL INSPECTORATE FOR CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
4 Overview of Performance
4.1.1 In 2013/14 the JICS received approximately R31.67 million i.e. 0,17% of the DCS’s allocation, and 0,52% less than what it received in 2012/13. The DCS is responsible for all the JICS’s expenses. The JICS receives its budget directly from the DCS. Its allocation is not guided by a statutory requirement, but is entirely dependent on the allocation the DCS decides to transfer to it. The JICS submits its budget and adjustment budget to the DCS annually, and reports that complies with all prescripts in this regard. The annual report suggests that the JICS’s management is not included in the internal processes that govern the DCS’s allocation of funds.
4.1.2 The JICS overspent by R5,1 million, and ascribed this to the fact that it had been allocated insufficient monies to fund positions in line with its new organisational structure, which was approved by the then Minister of Correctional Services in 2012. The posts have not yet been funded, as the structure is still subject to the relevant DPSA processes. Pending the funding of the new structure, the JICS has appointed individuals to identified posts on contract. According to the JICS, the relevant authorities were aware that appointments were made, and the over-expenditure that would be incurred.
4.1.3 The JICS’s fixed establishment comprised 45 approved and funded posts. At the time of reporting one of the posts was vacant. In addition it had 38 contract posts to address its immediate needs. The establishment does not included the ICCV posts.
4.1.4 That almost half of the JICS’s staff establishment are on contract; and that those posts are filled despite not having been funded is a cause for major concern. While the Committee accepts that the JICS is facing severe human resource constraints, absolute care should be taken to ensure that all necessary procedures and policies are adhered to, especially when decisions have financial implications that will result in over-expenditure.
4.1.5 The Committee notes that since the Minister’s approval of the structure, the JICS had identified additional posts ‘pivotal’ to its service delivery. These include posts in communications, a legal advisory and general administrative clerks across all its directorates. The JICS is also firmly of the view that it ought to expand even further in order to align its regions with the DCS’s management regions.
4.1.6 The Finance and Supply Chain Management sub-directorate manages the JICS’s budget and supply chain management. Although the new structure makes provision for a finance manager, as well as an internal audit manager, both posts were at a very low level. Of particular concern was that it appeared as though the finance officer, because of the low level the post occupies in the structure, has not been afforded any decision-making powers. Both the finance manager, and internal audit manager posts should be re-graded to ensure that they are on levels that are in line with public service and administration guidelines.
4.1.7 The JICS is not audited separately, but is included in the DCS’s audit. It is also noted that internal audits are conducted by the DCS, usually on the JICS’s request. The most recent internal audit was performed towards the end of May 2014, and was on the 2013/14 Performance Management and Development System – booklets. At the time of reporting the audit outcome had not yet been made available. The JICS emphasised that once the internal auditing post on its establishment has been filled, regular internal audits will take place.
4.1.8 The Committee notes the JICS’s recommendation that the DCS should priortise the funding of its new post establishment, and for the necessary posts to be created on PERSAL.
4.1.9 The Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services had in March 2014 reported that the JICS’s effectiveness is dependent on its financial and structural independence from the DCS. Such independence will be accompanied by increased accountability, and will require compliance with all statutory and regulatory requirements that underpin good governance, and which all other state institutions, entities and departments are subject to. The reports for the period under review, along with the previous committee’s observations, give little indication that the JICS would, in its current form, be able to meet obligations and responsibilities in this regard.
4.1.10 The JICS reports that in 2013/14 it dealt with 10 719 cases involving the use of force (191), the use of mechanical restraints (271); segregation (8 397), natural deaths (588), unnatural deaths (46), complaints (1 115); investigations (20) and inspections (91). No unnatural deaths arising from or implicating DCS officials were reported in that period, but there was an increase in assaults on inmates in which officials were implicated from 99 in 2012/13 to 109 in 2013/14. It is noted that at the time of reporting substantive findings were not yet available in some cases owing to non-receipt of the DCS reports, as well as the JICS’s capacity constraints.
4.1.11 The JICS undertook 91 investigations in the period under review, and common findings related to structural and maintenance challenges owing to poor workmanship and delays on the part of DPW; professional staff shortage; no basic provision of fire-fighting equipment and related-training to staff; and inadequate provision of recreational and other activities. While the JICS reports that most findings were responded to well, and that heads of centres took the necessary remedial action, it provides no comment on the underlying causes for, for instance, inadequate preparedness for fires; and maintenance challenges.
4.1.12 Twenty investigations were conducted at correctional centres in 2013/14, most notably those related to incidents at the Mangaung, St Albans, and Durban-Westville correctional centres. The view that the role, functions, authority and methodology of the DCS’s emergency support teams should be reviewed, is in line with a similar recommendation by the Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services made in 2013 and should be pursued.
4.1.13 The JICS raises serious concerns about the still high number of suicides in correctional centres. According to the JICS, adequate supervision, and full compliance with regulations could, in some cases have prevented a suicide.
4.1.14 The Committee notes the recommendations that the appropriateness of the use of CCTV cameras in certain areas, be debated and that legislation to that effect should be considered. We support this recommendation which flows from discussion that took place during the Fourth Parliament, and agree whole-heartedly that given the staff shortages, inappropriate infrastructure, and security weaknesses, the use of technology should be explored as a means of improving the DCS’s safe and secure incarceration of inmates.
4.1.15 We also support the recommendation that the DCS’s regulations should be amended to ensure greater cooperation by the DCS in relation to the provision of information relevant to investigations, and mandatory reports especially.
4.1.16 In recognition of the obligation on the state to provide safe incarceration, we recommend that the JICS reports every death, every assault involving the EST or ordinary officials, and all cases in which undue force was found to have been used to the Committee. It is further recommended that the JICS should determine reasonable deadlines beyond which its investigation reports will be submitted to the Committee, regardless of whether the DCS’s reports have been received.
PART C: RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Department of Correctional Services
5.1.1 The Committee is pleased to note that the DCS will adhere to the latest Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation reporting processes, which require that performance information be submitted within 30 days of the end of the quarter. It is hoped that this would make the timeous submission of quarterly reports to Parliament possible too.
5.1.2 The Auditor-General’s findings relating to the appropriateness, relevance and usefulness of strategic objectives, targets and performance information are of serious concern. Their findings support persistent concerns about the integrity of the DCS’s reporting. In addition, the instability at the level of its internal audit unit, and audit committee should be addressed with immediate effect: weaknesses in this regard are a barrier to any efforts to improve audit outcomes. The DCS should provide the Committee with its plan for addressing these, and other findings of the Auditor General, and thereafter with quarterly updates with regard to progress made. Care should be taken to ensure that remedies employed are sustainable.
5.1.3 The leadership instability with which the DCS has been contending for several years now is of major concern, as it has undoubtedly contributed to the department’s inability to succesfully transform, and improve its service delivery. The Committee acknowledges that several calls for the DCS to develop a strategy for addressing its leadership and service-delivery challenges have been made and the past. We agree that without such a turnaround strategy, the challenges highlighted throughout this report are unlikely to be addressed. As a starting point we recommend that the following critical vacancies at senior management level are filled with the expertise required to develop and implement the turnaround strategy referred to above: National Commissioner, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Deputy Commissioner: Strategic Management.
5.1.4 In light of concerns raised in paragraphs 2.3.8 to 2.3.19, the Committee strongly recommends that due consideration be given to the use of technology such as closed circuit television cameras to improve monitoring and security, and urges that should this intervention be desirable, the necessary funding should be prioritised.
5.1.5 Given the negative impact of delays in the completion of construction projects highlighted in paragraphs 2.3.17 and 3.1.5, progress made in construction and renovation projects underway will have to be closely monitored, and should be reported only quarterly.
5.1.6 The Committee notes stakeholder-concerns about the implementation of section 38(1)(k) of the Correctional Services Act, as amended by the Correctional Matters Amendment Act in 2011, which requires that newly-sentenced offenders should as soon as possible upon admission be assessed to determine their vulnerability to sexual violence and exploitation. The DCS should provide quarterly progress reports on the implementation of this, and other provisions introduced by the Amendment Act.
5.1.7 The Committee acknowledges that given the financial constraints, it may not be feasible to continue to fund posts that departments could not succeed in filling over long periods of time. We further acknowledge that many of the challenges the DCS faces are long-standing and pre-date the current administration. The challenges have impeded organisational transformation, which in turn may have impacted on recruitment and retention strategies. The Committee is concerned about the impact a limitation on the DCS’s ability to recruit personnel key to its core functions of rehabilitation and security, is likely to have. The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services is therefore requested to ensure that the DCS’s unique circumstances are taken into consideration when budgetary adjustments are made.
5.1.8 The Committee acknowledges that the economic environment has necessitated considerable financial restrictions on the public sector too. In light of this it is understood that requests for additional funding are unlikely to be granted. We therefore reecommend that should further austerity measures be imposed on the DCS, they should be of such a nature that they do not hamper the delivery of the rehabilitation and reintegration services at the DCS’s core. Interventions that will strengthen its leadership, risk and financial management, and security operations should also not be compromised.
5.2 Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services
5.2.1 The Committee must emphasise at the outset that the JICS’s reliance on the DCS for every aspect of its operation is unsatisfactory.
5.2.2 The major thrust of the JICS’s interactions with the Committee to date, has related to its resource-challenges: it is dependent on the DCS for its budget, IT infrastructure and management, office space, vehicles, posts created on PERSAL, internal audit and the appointment of its CEO. The Committee agrees that given the JICS’s mandate, the situation is untenable.
5.2.3 The Committee feels strongly that any further developments related to the JICS’s restructuring should be suspended pending consideration of, and a decision on how the institution should be strengthened to fulfill its mandate, including whether legislative amendments are required.
PART D: APPRECIATION
The Committee thanks all those officials and stakeholders who participated in the process, and looks
forward to future engagements.
Report to be considered.