Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Correctional Services on Workshop with Department, dated 22 June 2004:

1. Introduction

The workshop hosted by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) took place at the Goodwood Correctional Centre on 1 and 2 June 2004. The purpose of the Workshop was to:

Set out the functions of the main branches of the Department.
Provide an overview of the White Paper.
Provide an overview of the Strategic Plan for 2004/5-2006/7.
Provide a detailed briefing on the Budget.
Identify priorities for the Department for the 2004/5 financial year and over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

In addition, the workshop provided an opportunity for Members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Correctional Services to interact with the Minster and Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, the National Commissioner and the top management of the Department of Correctional Services. This was a particularly valuable opportunity for new members of the committee.

The following members attended the workshop:

Tuesday, 01 June 2004

Wednesday, 02 June 2004

Modisenyane, Mr LJ

ModisenyaneMr LJ

Bloem, Mr DV

Bloem, Mr DV

Chikunga, Ms LS

Chikunga, Ms LS

Fihla, Mr NB

Fihla, Mr NB

Mahote, Mr S

Rwexana, Ms SP

Makgate, Ms MW

Makgate, Ms MW

Moatshe, Mr MS

Moatshe, Mr MS

Mthethwa, Mr EN

Mthethwa, Mr EN

Tolo, Mr LJ

Tolo, Mr LJ

Xolo, Mr E

Xolo, Mr E

Morkel, Mr CM

Morkel, Mr CM

Selfe, Mr J

Selfe, Mr J

Magau, Ms R, Mahote, Mr S (Wednesday, 02 June 2004), Ramgobin, Mr M, Sosibo, Ms JE, Tshivhase, Ms TJ and Seaton, Ms SA.

Formal presentations were made by the DCS on the following areas:

DCS Strategic Direction.
White Paper Process and Implementation.
DCS Strategic Plan.
Corrections Framework.
Development and Care Framework.
Main Functions and Challenges of Corporate Services.
Budget Report.

In addition, the Members were taken on a tour of the Goodwood Correctional Centre. This report briefly highlights key issues from each presentation with a focus on those issues not contained in the briefing documents that were distributed to all Members. The focus of the report is to outline key challenges, emanating from discussions during the Workshop, which may require further discussion by Members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Correctional Services.

2. Overview of the DCS Strategic Direction.

The revised vision of the DCS is:

‘To be one of the best in the world in delivering correctional services with integrity and commitment to excellence.’

Key elements of the Departmental mission are to:

Place rehabilitation at the centre of all activities.
Focus on correcting behaviour, promoting social responsibility and development of offenders.
Ensure cost effectiveness.
Ensure progressive and ethical staff practices.

The DCS has recognised that in order to achieve these objectives it needs to partner extensively with external role-players.

Prisoner statistics

The current prison population is approximately 187 000 inmates of which approximately 55 000 are unsentenced. The total capacity of the prisons are designed to hold 113 000 prisoners. The problem of overcrowding is uneven across the country and mainly applies to areas where the prisons are undergoing renovation and are closed for this purpose and where the demographics of the region have changed. The application of minimum sentences have also impacted on overcrowding as offenders are sentenced to longer periods of imprisonment.

As at the date of the briefing there were 2 232 unsentenced children under the age of 18 in the prisons and 6 children under 14 years of age. There are 1 926 sentenced children under the age of 18 years in prison and 9 children under 14 years of age.

There are approximately 53 556 offenders undergoing community corrections. Of these, approximately 20 673 are probationers and approximately 32 883 are on parole.

Facility statistics

The DCS has been restructured from 9 regions (in line with provincial demarcations) to 6 regions. These regions are determined by prisoner and staff numbers. The 6 regions are:

Western Cape
Eastern Cape
Northern Cape and Free State combined.
North West Province, Limpopo and Mpumalanga combined.

There are 48 management areas and 234 active Correctional Centres of which 8 cater for women, 140 contain men only, and 72 accommodate women in a section of the prison. There are 13 youth development centres. Four prisons are currently closed for renovation. In addition there are 2 Public-Private Partnership (PPP) prisons, 1 in Bloemfontein and 1 in Louis Trichard.

Key challenges

Improved management of personnel

This includes retraining personnel in line with the new approach identified in the White Paper, improved recruitment and orientation of new members appropriate to an environment of rehabilitation, ensuring corruption is minimised and managing stress and morale.


The focus is on improving cooperation within the Integrated Justice System (IJS), particularly in terms of awaiting - trial detainees who should not be seen as the (sole) responsibility of Correctional Services and children who should be transferred to Secure Care facilities (run by the Department of Social Development).

Diversion of offenders away from prison by using alternative sentencing options will assist in the problem of overcrowding. A recent Cabinet Lekgotla has agreed to address the terms of reference for the criminal justice system ranging from arrest to sentencing. This will allow the Minister of Correctional Services an opportunity to revisit the issue of the sentencing policy framework. The Deputy Minister stressed that much of the problem lies in poor application of the current laws and policy rather than in the need for new policy and laws. Thus magistrates are not sentencing creatively, prosecutors are not implementing bail properly and prison heads are not using their rights to query decisions. New effective models have been developed and rollout of these pilots, such as the Pollsmoor plea bargaining initiative should be considered

The problem of overcrowding is not only a result of the sentencing practices of the courts but is also due to lengthy police investigations and the South African Police Service (SAPS) bringing offenders to the prisons for minor offences (i.e. drunkenness). Police cells are also overcrowded. Once again this emphasises the need for innovative intersectoral solutions to the problem of overcrowding.


The challenge is to deal with offenders as individuals whose particular needs should be addressed. In addition, the needs of special categories of offenders i.e. women and the disabled, must be identified. The management of HIV/AIDS in prisons is a key challenge.


Key challenges include the need to reduce escapes and to improve the safety of offenders, staff and the public. In addition, the renovation of correctional facilities to ensure that they are environments conducive to rehabilitation is identified as a challenge.

3. Overview of the White Paper Process and Implementation.

The White Paper was approved by Cabinet last year. The presentation summarised the main concepts in each Chapter. The two key pillars of the White Paper are:

The identification of Correctional Services as an institution of rehabilitation.
The recognition that correction is a societal responsibility rather than the responsibility of the Department of Correctional Services alone.


The White Paper must be amended to reflect the various submissions, including those made at the public hearings held by the Portfolio Committee in February 2004. The Department has been tasked with costing this White Paper and developing an implementation plan. The costing of the White Paper has not yet been completed and a costed document and a full implementation plan must still be presented to Cabinet.

The DCS has recognised that the White Paper is an ambitious document, which will only be fully implemented over a period of time (about 10 years). The DCS has decided to implement aspects of the White Paper in a number of carefully identified prisons around the country. A total of 36 prisons (termed ‘Centres of Excellence’) have been identified for piloting of the White Paper concepts.

Key challenges

Capacity for implementation

The institutional capacity to implement the White Paper has been identified as a challenge. This will require a paradigm shift amongst members of the DCS, service providers as well as other government departments that offer services within the Correctional environment in line with the new approach of the Department. It has implications for current staff (in terms of retraining), new staff (criteria for recruitment) and the facilities (the types of facilities conducive to rehabilitation).

Awaiting trial detainees

The White Paper states that the approximately 55 000 awaiting trial detainees should not necessarily be the responsibility of the Department of Correctional Services alone. Instead it is the responsibility of Government as a whole to identify creative solutions to this problem. Some detainees spend 3 years or more in prison awaiting trial and the Department is unable to provide education, training and other development programmes for these detainees. It was noted by the National Commissioner, that one of the problems of having Justice and Correctional Services as two separate departments is that often decisions are made on the basis of selfish needs rather on the basis of joint problem solving. The DCS management has identified that awaiting trial detainees should be seen as a responsibility of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

Mindset change

It is not only members of the DCS who need to undergo a mindset change with regard to their role as rehabilitators but society at large. The White Paper calls for the expanded role of society both in terms of assisting in preventing offending behaviour and in assisting offenders after release to reintegrate into society. This will require the effective marketing of the DCS and its new approach to all sectors of society. The DCS has stated that it is committed to marketing its new approach even though it may be accused of being ‘soft on crime’.

4. DCS Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan 2004/05-2006/7 was delayed in order to incorporate the contents of the White Paper. A recurring theme in all areas of the Strategic Plan for the year 12004/05 is the need to collect baseline data in order to be able to measure quantifiable successes in the following years.

The strategic priorities for 2004/05 are:

To develop an Implementation Plan and cost the White Paper.
To ensure the implementation of all existing policies.
To address corruption by improving compliance with internal policies. Corruption is inherent in prisons internationally. A 3-pronged approach to corruption has been implemented and includes prevention, investigation and sanctions.
Ensure the implementation and delivery of intervention programmes by DCS and external service providers, including an auditing of services to ensure that they are in line with the strategic direction of the DCS.
Implement the Human Resource Development strategy with a particular focus on retraining staff according to the new approach of the Department.
Improve administration, communication and information and decision making support.

Key priorities for 2004 and the medium term per budget programme


Implement the White Paper including the development of costing and implementation plans, the alignment of policies and laws to the White Paper and the development of pilot Centres of Excellence.
Improve compliance with existing policies and the implementation of the anti-corruption strategy.
Reduce the vacancy rate of 2 000 at any one time by putting in place programmes to fast track recruitment.
Audit, evaluate and accredit all external service providers to ensure that services are in line with strategic objectives.


Improve personnel integrity (which will assist in the reduction of escapes and corruption) by vetting 3% of all correctional officials, particularly those working in maximum-security prisons. The new Integrity Unit will do the vetting. Officials who are found to be vulnerable in the process will be removed to a different environment and will not be fired without reason.
Develop a security plan for staff working in community corrections in order to ensure that they are protected.
Put in place the classification system and risk profiles to increase security of personnel and offenders.


Accelerate implementation of unit management (whereby staff are directly responsible for a particular group of offenders).
Target offending behaviour through development of individual correction plans.
Engage with society especially families in terms of societal responsibility for correcting behaviour.


HIV/Aids is identified as a key priority in the Strategic Plan. A prevalence survey of offenders and staff will be initiated in 2004.


Ensure the acquisition of skills while serving sentences and that skills acquisition is in line with employment opportunities outside of prison.


Build four new prisons based on the model New Generation Prisons with a capacity of 12 000.
Upgrade current facilities to cater for rehabilitation and begin to use internal resources to fulfil this function.


Identify and implement programmes to prepare offenders for release.
Develop community profiles to promote reintegration.

5. Corrections Framework.

The model of rehabilitation links all services to the offender, from admission to reintegration. The admissions process will be significantly modified in line with the White Paper to ensure that at the outset correction needs are identified for each prisoner as an individual. The process will include the accurate identification and profiling (including a risk profile) of offenders and the focused induction of offenders. Restoration is identified as a key concept and tool to rehabilitation. The concept of new beginnings is understood as ensuring that offenders are influenced toward socially responsible life choices to improve their chance of successful integration after release.

Identified priorities for 2004 include the piloting of implementation of these ideas through the Centres of Excellence project and the launch of the new Parole Boards.

6. Development and Care Framework.

The basic assumption is that an enabling environment is necessary to rehabilitate effectively and that individuals can change if given the appropriate resources and social circumstances. The Development and Care Branch addresses this by providing formal education, skills development, sport and recreational opportunities, and opportunities to work in agriculture and production workshops. In addition the Branch deals with the enhancement of personal well -being through healthcare, spiritual care, psychological care, addressing HIV/AIDS and social work services.

Key challenges

Participation in programmes

Not all sentenced prisoners participate in programmes. There is a need to increase the capacity of programmes (for example, the workshops) to include more prisoners. However, a key problem is insufficient staff capacity to control and supervise inmates during these activities. The DCS is auditing its current development and skills programmes and utilisation of these programmes to ensure that these are fulfilling an identified need and are in line with the new strategic and policy framework. Programmes are also presently voluntary, thus inmates who do not want to attend programmes are not compelled to do so. In the future, in line with the focus on rehabilitation, attendance of programmes will be compulsory especially for juveniles.


A comprehensive policy on HIV/AIDS exists and focuses on both members and offenders. The challenge is to implement this policy framework. The policy framework is in line with Government policy and the Constitution and thus no compulsory testing of inmates is allowed. Instead, education, voluntary testing and counseling is encouraged. In addition, there is no separation of offenders on the basis of their HIV status. Many offenders have HIV/AIDS when they enter prison and do not necessarily get infected in prison. However, the conditions within prisons, particularly overcrowding and poor health provision, means that they deteriorate faster in the prison environment than outside of prison. In addition, some offenders previously using anti-retroviral drugs outside of prison, stop treatment when they enter prison, as they do not want others to know their HIV status. The DCS has acknowledged that they may face a problem with the rollout of anti-retrovirals as some of the centres identified by the Department of Health as treatment centres have stated that they do not want correctional services to use these centres. Posts have been advertised for two doctors in each region (who will then fall under the DCS) and it is hoped that this will assist in alleviating some of the problems. Nurses and sessional doctors from the Department of Health will support these doctors.

A prevalence survey on HIV/AIDS in prisons (which will cover both staff and offenders) is identified as a key challenge and priority.

Shortage of staff

As shown in the table below, there is a serious shortage of doctors, psychologists, social workers, pharmacists and other professional staff. The shortage of psychologists is related to the fact that there are only 6 500 psychologists in the country and that remuneration is low compared to working in the private sector. The development of a retention strategy for specialised groups is identified as a key challenge and priority.


Established posts


Psychological services



Spiritual Care



Health Care Services

2 336

1 413




Social Work Services



Formal Education



Skills Development



Production workshops and agriculture



Offender sport, recreation, arts and culture




4 017

2 811

7. Overview of Main Functions and Challenges of Corporate Services.

There are financed posts for 35 699 employees of which approximately
32 500 are currently filled. In order to fulfil the requirements of the White Paper approximately 49 000 employees are required. This year, approximately 1 200 new recruits will undergo basic training in June/July. Some of the other critical posts will also be filled. However, the shortage of 13 000 posts will be filled in the longer term due to the phased approach in which the White Paper will be implemented.

Expenditure on employees will be R5.3 billion for the 2004/05 financial year and 63.9% of the budget over the MTEF.

Employee breakdown







15 040

4 132


6 342


4 441

1 025


1 252


Filled posts


Senior management



Middle and Junior Management

1 903


Correctional Officers

28 629

1 743

Professional Staff

2 071

1 147

Employees with disabilities: There are 86 males and 39 females with disabilities.

Corporate services consists of three directorates. These include:

Human Resource Development:
Equity and Recreation
Human Resource Management

Key challenges


The DCS was allocated R700 million for overtime for the 2003/04 financial year and exceeded this allocation by R190 million by spending a total of R890 million on overtime last financial year. The DCS has noted abuse in the use of overtime by staff who prefer to work on the weekends as they receive overtime pay rather than reporting to work during the week.

At present the DCS is managed as a five-day establishment which means that weekend work qualifies for overtime. Overtime is remunerated at present at 1 and a third on Saturdays and double pay on Sundays (to a maximum of Cog 3 level).

The alternative is to change to a 7-day establishment, which will entail the provision of four shifts, rather then the three shifts that exist currently. Saturday will then be defined as a normal working day. Sundays will be remunerated at a day and a half pay. Thus some form of overtime will still exist.

In order to implement this approach an additional 8 000 entry level staff will need to be hired. In addition the support of the unions is required. This is proving to be problematic.

A strategy to move to a 7-day establishment has been discussed with Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA). However, there is a need to develop a Human Resource (HR) implementation strategy which will deal holistically with the issues including the phasing out of overtime, the phasing in of a 7-day week and to ensure that there is parity in the salaries and conditions of services between Correctional Services staff and other members of the public service such as the police.

Improvement of conditions of service

Linked to the issue of overtime is the need to improve the conditions of service of staff. At present staff are paid the highest per capita in the public service but this is largely due to their reliance on overtime payments. Therefore if the DCS changes to a 7-day establishment, the issue of conditions of service will need to be addressed simultaneously.

Death on duty

Following the SAPS initiative of a lump sum payment for families of police officers killed while on duty, the DCS is considering the introduction of a group scheme for correctional services staff. Families will get an amount equal to one year’s salary as well as the payment of funeral expenses. The costs to the DCS of an initiative of this nature will be minimal and have been costed at about R30 million per annum.


The decision to demilitarise the DCS caused a number of serious problems mainly as a result of no effective alternative system being put in place. In addition, there was a lack of understanding that discipline and security remained an integral part of a civilian correctional services system. Management training courses were still based on military design, resulting in a disjuncture between management style and demilitarisation. The DCS is facing problems of insubordination and ill discipline as a result of this flawed process. This has manifested itself in resistance to the reintroduction of uniforms by the unions. The DCS has agreed to allow one month for all staff to comply with the decision to wear uniforms.

Recruitment of personnel

The process for recruiting new members has been marked by inefficiencies, corruption and lack of transparency. There is a need to review the criteria with regard to the type of people required to fulfil the function of a correctional official. The DCS has decided to outsource the processing of applicants due to the extremely high response rate to advertised posts. The DCS received 1.6 million applicants for 2 200 entry-level posts.

Reduction of corruption

The disciplinary code of conduct will be reviewed in 2004/5, to ensure that assisting in escapes and other practices are viewed more seriously, not as negligence but rather as sabotage. Cash is no longer kept in prisons, but some correctional officials collaborate with prisoners to get money into the prison system. In a scan of the financial situation of staff it was identified that approximately 58 individuals received no salary at all at the end of the month because of high debt. These people are clearly vulnerable in terms of potential for corruption. In addition, many of the prisons and the security systems are old and outdated and not effective barriers to corrupt practices. The DCS has identified that it needs to ensure that principled people are hired to fulfil the function of correctional officials and thus recruitment processes need to be improved.


The need to retrain current staff in line with the new approach within the DCS has been identified as a key challenge. The need to revamp training includes both basic and management training. A pilot course will be run in July to train 25 middle and junior managers and will be extended in August to 400 managers. After an audit of the basic training, the DCS will consider adapting the training course to make it more efficient and effective without compromising standards.

Last financial year approximately 400 bursaries were extended to staff for study purposes in comparison to 250 bursaries for 2002/3.

8. Budget Report.

For the 2004/05 financial year it will cost R113.99 to keep a prisoner incarcerated per day.

The budget programmes have been restructured into 7 programmes to reflect the approach of the Department outlined in the White Paper.

Capital projects: Four new prisons are planned for this financial year. Tenders for these prisons will go out in June/July 2004. Four more prisons (making a total of 8 prisons) are planned for 2005/06. Other major capital works projects include the building of a new Head Office in Pretoria.

Cost drivers: The three cost drivers in the budget are:

Personnel: The presenter identified a shortage of 13 000 staff in terms of lack of financed posts. However it must be recognised that this is the number of staff needed to implement the White Paper fully, and not incrementally as the DCS plans to do.
Offenders: There are approximately 9 200 unfunded offenders. Treasury has granted additional funds to deal with this problem.
Facilities: Approximately 76 710 offenders will be without beds (accommodation) this financial year (68.86% overcrowding). This number will be reduced to approximately 71 910 next year if the four new prisons are completed.

Key challenges

Decrease in GDP inflation

Guidelines on the 2005/06 budget communicated to the DCS last week, refer to the fact that GDP inflation has been decreased for the next three years in response to the oil prices. This will have implications for staff salaries as the Department has been asked not to increase salaries by more than 5% in the forthcoming three years. Next year’s budget request to Treasury will thus only make provision for a 5% increase in salaries. For this financial year (2004/05) management has agreed with the unions to a 10% increase on salaries.

Options to Treasury

The DCS submitted a number of options to Treasury for the 2004/05 budget. These included requests for additional funds for restructuring, costs for the four new prisons, additional funds for the projected prisoner population and for the implementation of the parole boards. Of a total of R2.8 billion requested, the DCS received funding only for the projected prisoner population and for the parole boards, totaling an additional R80 million. Reasons for the Department not receiving the remainder of the additional funds requested include:

They were motivated as optional funding rather than core funding, which makes it easier to be rejected by Treasury. The National Commissioner stated that these funds should be build into the main budget, as they are often needed to fulfil necessary rather than optional functions.
The motivation submitted to Treasury was not adequately presented or understood. Improved relationships with Treasury will increase mutual understanding of needs and ensure that future requests will be properly motivated and received. According to the National Commissioner, Treasury may still grant an additional amount of R500 million to the Department.

Parole Boards

Parole boards should have been implemented in 2002, but implementation has been delayed. They should be implemented by July/August 2004. Full time chairpersons from outside of the DCS will be hired in this financial year and deputy chairpersons (who will also be from outside of the Department) will be hired in the second phase. The National Commissioner has requested that the advertisement for these posts be shared with the Portfolio Committee to ensure that the adverts correctly identify the required characteristics of individuals who will fulfil these functions. These include characteristics such as integrity and honesty.

9. Recommendations

The Ad Hoc Committee on Correctional Services calls the unions in to discuss resistance to uniforms, conditions of service and problems of overtime including migration to a 7-day week.

The Ad Hoc Committee on Correctional Services calls for a joint meeting of the Portfolio Committees of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Safety and Security and Social Development to discuss and receive inputs on creative solutions to overcrowding. This could include a briefing by the respective Ministers as well as an input on the plea bargaining initiative at Pollsmoor.

The Ad Hoc Committee on Correctional Services calls a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Health to discuss issues around the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in prisons especially on the problem of access to treatment centres and the shortage of doctors.

The Ad Hoc Committee on Correctional Services receives a copy of the White Paper Implementation Plan and the costing document from the DCS after this has been submitted to Cabinet.