PRESENTATION TO THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
SPEAKING NOTES FOR THE HONOURABLE MINISTER BS MABANDLA, MP
1. 2006/07 and 2007/08 budget allocations
Between 2003/04 and 2009/10, the Department’s budget, including statutory amounts, increases at an average annual rate of 13, 6 per cent, from R4, 966 billion in 2003/04 to R10, 647 billion in 2009/10. The adjusted appropriation for 2006/07 is R7, 549 billion. Of this amount, R1, 071 billion is a direct charge against the National Revenue Fund to provide for the salaries of judges and magistrates.
R8, 541 billion is allocated to the Department for the 2007/08 financial year. Of this allocation, R838 million is for Programme 1: Administration; R2, 9 billion to Programme 2: Court Services; R415 million to Programme 3: State Legal Services; R1, 8 billion to Programme 4: NPA and R925 million is for the Chapter 9 institutions (and public entities). R1, 263 billion is allocated as a direct charge against the National Revenue Fund for the salaries of judges and magistrates.
2. Key strategic focus areas
The key strategic focus areas of the Department as espoused in its Medium-term Strategic Framework (MTSF) remain unchanged. These are:
· Access to justice for all
· Enhance organisational efficiency
· Transformation of justice, state and society
The basic platform for a modern and vibrant Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is in place and the focus will now be on improving service delivery.
3. Access to justice for all
Under access to justice I would like to highlight the following key features:
· Improving infrastructure (the capital works programme) and security
· The Repair and Maintenance Programme (RAMP)
· Improved service delivery
· National Youth Services Programme (NYSP)
Highlights of the Departmental achievements in the current (2006/07) financial year include two new courts being built, the roll-out of the Departmental computer network to over 500 sites, the implementation of the Digital Court Recording solution, and the improvements made to security.
5. ACCESS TO JUSTICE
R308 million in our capital works programme was spent during 2006/07 on the construction of new courts and additional court rooms to existing courts. The capital budget will also be utilized for completion of the following major projects in 2007/08:
CENTRE EXPECTED COMPLETION DATE
Motherwell - 15 May 2007
Polokwane (Circuit for High Court) - To be determined
Mitchell’s Plain (additions) - To be determined
The following major capital works will be completed in 2008/09:
* Supreme Court of Appeal
* Colesberg New Magistrate’s Court
Improving security at our court buildings was a particular focus of the Department’s reprioritisation process during the 2005/06 financial year. 50 X-ray machines and 200 walk-through metal detectors were procured and deployed to high-risk court buildings. In addition, burglar proofing and perimeter fencing were installed at all court buildings.
A total of 301 courts are now registered on the Repair and Maintenance Programme (RAMP) and are in various stages of execution:
Status quo reports 205
Planning to go out on tender 12
Repair phase 6
The Department has requested the Department of Public Works to prepare status quo reports for 205 buildings / sites. These status quo reports will be completed by the end of March 2007 and service providers currently are in the field compiling these.
[Status quo reports present an assessment of the current state of the building – it forms the basis of the tender specifications that it used to procure the services in the repair phase. Maintenance follows after the repair phase and should be an ongoing activity to prevent the building from deteriorating.]
Although there is a special focus on the RAMP programme, supported by additional budget allocations, it must be anticipated that the Department will continue to receive complaints on the condition of some court buildings. Obviously, this work is ongoing and will be accelerated depending on the availability of budget.
An amount of R467 million has been allocated for Facilities Management (capital works, day-to-day maintenance and repair and upgrading) in the 2007/08 financial year. The funds will mainly be used for the continuation of construction work of 11 major projects and for the planning and construction of new court in Katlehong, Garies, Bityi, Ntuzuma, Soshanguwe, Lutzville, Ashton, Bredasdorp, Sundumbili and Galeshewe.
Department plans to begin construction of a new high courts in
infrastructure planned for the MTEF is a Justice Precinct,
However, it must be appreciated that the Department is seriously constrained in that the available office space is insufficient to accommodate a growing Department. To address this need, additional accommodation will be leased. Thirty five (35) mobile courts have been procured in 2006/07 and more will be procured should the need arise. We are also deploying mobile units to sites where periodical courts are currently held in police stations.
A major drive in the new financial year will be to ensure that our facilities are accessible for the disabled. An amount of R120 million is being committed in the current financial year (from reprioritised funds) towards making 36 court buildings accessible for the disabled. This amount is in addition to the existing provision on the programme of the Department of Public Works.
5.2 Improved service delivery
The Departmental establishment has grown with 7, 2% and 1 017 new posts (NPA excluded) were created in 2006/07. The following staff (NPA excluded) was recruited in 2006/07:
* Court stenographers 1781
* E-scheduler clerks 345
* Court Managers 215
* Senior and Family Councillors 100
* Maintenance investigators 142
* Maintenance officers 85
The current number of approved magistrates’ posts is 1388. Of these, 1324 are filled, leaving 64 current vacancies.
Court Services and the National Prosecuting Authority have received a substantial additional allocation of R425 million over the MTEF in order to address criminal case backlogs. In addition the Legal Aid Board has received an allocation of R140 million over the MTEF period to increase its capacity. An integrated approach between these role players and our partners in the CJS cluster is required and project plans are being finalised.
Operation Isondlo was launched in December 2005 and is continuing to provide satisfactory results. This program seeks to improve the payment of maintenance monies to beneficiaries. A tender was awarded to tracing agents to find not only beneficiaries but defaulters as well. So far, 2 756 beneficiaries and 4 559 defaulters have been traced since the project started three months ago.
beneficiaries are also benefiting from another initiative – the Electronic
Funds Transfer (EFT) project. As at
The Re Aga Boswa project places the emphasis on putting a professional management core in place in our courts. 259 court managers were appointed to strengthen management capacity in courts. These posts did not exist previously and magistrates used to perform these functions. A professional management capacity and system of court management is now in place. These court managers are benefiting from a specially designed Court Management Learnership Programme initiated in 2005.
Improved service delivery continuously remains high on our agenda. The Masters’ Office is streamlining its operations by automating and centralising high volume back office functions. In so doing it will free capacity to deal with front-line issues. In this regard, it is interesting to note that the number of section 18(3) matters in our Master’s Offices has increased by about 10% per annum. Section 18(3) matters relate to smaller estates (less than R50 000) and competent staff should be made available to minimise the risk for beneficiaries and ensure the protection of the rights of the vulnerable.
5.3 National Youth Services Programme (NYSP)
The Department currently employs 134 interns. These legally qualified interns have found a home in Court Services (69 interns), 35 candidate attorneys are placed with the State Attorney on two year contract, 15 are employed as legal secretaries, and two are deployed as State Law Advisers. The budget for interns in 2006/07 is R10 million.
The Department plans to employ 100 law graduates that are to be employed at the law clinics of the various universities in 2007/08. We believe these initiatives will strengthen our current pool of possible recruits while at the same time an opportunity is afforded to these individuals to gain experience in a very competitive work environment.
6. ENHANCED ORGANSATIONAL EFFICIENCY
As mentioned earlier, the Department has put in place the necessary building blocks to ensure its organisational efficiency is enhanced. These achievements include:
· The DNS roll-out to over 500 sites of the departmental computer network (DNS III);
· The Digital Court Recording project where all court rooms are to be provided with digital court recording equipment by July 2007;
The roll-out of the E-scheduler solution to 333 sites as at
the end of February 2007. Here I am proud to announce that the Department is
ahead of schedule for targeted completion by June 2007 and that the
· The E-scheduler statistics are being incorporated into the Justice Management Information Solution (JMIS). This system will be rolled-out during the next three months to all area court managers, regional heads and identified staff at the Regional Offices and national office.
· The Justice Deposit Account System (JDAS) is targeted for roll-out by end of June 2007;
· A document scanning solution is being developed. This solution will be integrated into the case management solution;
Bids have been received for the Monies In Trust Public
Private partnership on
The Department has prepared an exhibition where some of these new applications can be seen ‘live’. Members are encouraged to visit the exhibition.
I would like to highlight the following achievements under this heading:
* The criminal justice review;
* The Bills on the transformation of the judiciary
* The draft White Paper on the Transformation of the Judicairy
* The Legal Services Charter;
* The Khampepe Commission into the mandate and location of the Scorpions.
In conclusion, please allow me to reiterate that our strategic focus areas are to
· provide access to justice for all;
· enhance organisational efficiency; and
transform the administration of justice in
I thank the Honourable Members of the Portfolio Committee for giving us the opportunity to present to you our achievements and budget priorities. I trust our mutual co-operation and support will continue to grow from strength to strength.