PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON CORRECTIONAL SERVICES’ BUDGETARY REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION REPORT ON THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES’ PERFORMANCE IN 2010/11, AND THE FIRST HALF OF THE CURRENT FINANCIAL YEAR, DATED 20 OCTOBER 2011
1. The Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act (2009) provides for, amongst others, a parliamentary procedure to amend Money Bills, thus granting 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, annual reports and financial statements, as well as observations made during all other oversight activities. Essentially, the BRR report is a committee’s assessment of a department’s service delivery performance given its available resources, as well as the effectiveness and efficiency with which its programmes are implemented.
2. According to Section 2 of the Correctional Services’ Act (CSA), the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is mandated to contribute towards maintaining and protecting a just, peaceful, and safe society, by enforcing court-imposed sentences in the manner prescribed by the CSA, detaining inmates in safe custody while promoting social responsibility and the human development of all offenders and persons subject to community corrections.
Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services (“the Committee”) is mandated to,
amongst its other statutory obligations, support the
DCS in delivering on its mandate through rigorous monitoring of the
implementation of, and adherence to, policies such as the White Paper on
Corrections (“White Paper”) and legislation such as the CSA. The Committee
furthermore oversees the delivery of services to all inmates incarcerated in
4. At the start of its term in May 2009, the Committee had agreed to six focus areas that inform its oversight activities. Most importantly the Committee agreed to intensify oversight of the DCS’ administration and financial management, as weaknesses in that area impact negatively on, amongst others, the implementation of the rehabilitation and reintegration objectives contained in the White Paper. To this end, the Committee receives quarterly financial and administrative reports from the DCS which are closely scrutinised, in order to detect weaknesses and recommend remedies in good time. The Committee is not merely a watchdog over the DCS and its entity, the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS), but a strategic partner in ensuring that the vision of a better life for all South Africans which it shares with Parliament, and which is enshrined in the Constitution, is vigorously pursued. The Committee’s oversight must therefore be driven by ensuring service delivery to both sentenced offenders and remand detainees i.e. humane conditions of incarceration, effective rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, and adequate care and development. The successful delivery of these programmes will ensure that by the time an inmate is released his or her offending behaviour has been “corrected”, thus ensuring successful reintegration of offenders, and ultimately that South Africans feel, and are safe.
5. The JICS receives its budget from the DCS. As was the case in 2010, the JICS had at the time of the compilation of this report, not yet tabled its 2010/11 Annual Report and therefore their performance in the 2010/11 financial year could not be interrogated for inclusion in this report.
6. In preparing to report on the DCS’ financial and service delivery performance for the 2010/11 financial year and the first quarter of the current financial year the Committee considered, amongst others, all previous reports and recommendations related to the DCS’ service delivery and financial performance, the 2010/11 Annual Report and Financial Statements, National Treasury-published expenditure reports, reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) and the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA), DCS briefings to the Committee, as well as stakeholder-input on the DCS’ performance.
7. The Report comprises four parts detailing analyses of DCS’ 2010/11 Annual Report and Financial Statements (Part A); and its strategic objectives, budget allocation and financial performance to date (Part B); the Committee’s recommendations (Part C); as well as the Committee’s concluding remarks (Part D).
PART A: THE DCS’ 2009/10 ANNUAL REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
1. Performance across programmes
1.1 Administration: The DCS reported a 15,28% vacancy rate and had thus failed dismally in meeting the targeted 3%. The 4,7% under expenditure in the year under review is directly linked to its inability to fill vacancies. Most programmes reported vacancy levels exceeding 10%. At 28,7% the Administration programme had the highest vacancy level, a staggering 56,4 being in the financial and related fields. While it had targeted a 60-day turnaround time for the filling of vacancies, it took the DCS 158 days to fill those vacancies it could fill.
1.2 Security: Despite this programme having been allocated R5,1 billion in the 2010/11 financial year, the DCS succeeded in meeting very few of its key security targets. At 51, unnatural deaths remained high, assaults increased from 137,7 per 10 000 offenders in 2009/10 to 317 per 10 000 offenders in the year under review, and at 6,65 escapes per 10 000 inmates, the escape target has also not been met. Electronic access control systems were fully functional at only 80% of the centres at which they had been installed.. The remaining 20% reported challenges following the expiry of the Sondolo IT contract. Alarmingly the DCS did not set any targets for the vetting of officials: only 6.15% of the DCS’ officials were vetted in the year under review. The DCS’ explanations for the slow pace of vetting are unconvincing, and inspire little faith that security clearance will in future enjoy priority.
1.3 Corrections: Though the DCS succeeded in improving on its 38% offender population management target, it failed to ensure that all newly admitted offenders with sentences exceeding 24 months had correctional sentence plans (CSP), and it is not clear whether it has succeeded in developing CSPs for all those with less than 24 months to serve before becoming eligible for parole consideration. While the target for participation in corrections programmes was met, it is unclear whether the quality, sustainability and effectiveness of the programmes have been improved because the target set was too vague. Though the DCS reports that the draft White Paper on Remand Detention was widely consulted on, and that therefore that target had been met, the Committee and stakeholders were unaware of such a consultation process having taken place.
1.4 Care: While the DCS succeeded in concluding service level
agreements for health care services in all
1.5 Development: The DCS reported that most of the Development targets could not be met largely owing to capacity constraints resulting from the implementation of the 2x12 shift system, and the artisan-shortage. Unlike previous reports which assessed self-sufficiency levels, the 2010/11 report was silent on agricultural production. In 2010/11 2 906 offenders worked on correctional centre farms, and 1 693 worked in production workshops. Five additional correctional centres were registered with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) as fulltime schools in the year under review, thus bringing the total number of such schools to six. Correctional centre-schools however achieved only a 73% matric pass rate, 24% lower than in 2009/10.
1.6 Social Reintegration: Of the 20 411 offenders who became eligible for parole in the year under review, 17 630 were considered and only 9 978 were placed on parole. The number of probationers increased marginally from 9 265 in 2009/10 to 9 370 in 2010/11. The judiciary’s reluctance to hand down more community corrections sentences may be ascribed to the Department’s challenges as far as monitoring probationers: in 2010/11 3 050 violations were reported per 10 000 parolees, and the 746 violations per 10 000, was not met by far. The poor rollout of pre-release programmes and insufficient pre-release centres further hamper reintegration efforts as inmates, especially those who have served long sentences, are released without having been adequately prepared for their return to free society.
1.7 Facilities: As construction projects suffered numerous delays, the DCS was unable to meet the target for increasing bed spaces by 965. The feasibility study to determine what the size of a cost effective facility should be, could not be conducted.
2. Financial Information
2.1 The DCS was allocated an adjusted budget of R15, 43 billion in the 2010/11 financial year. The increase from the R13,8 billion received in the previous financial year resulted mainly from an additional R300 million per year allocation over the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) period, to be utilised for the Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) for correctional officials, and the R10 483 billion adjustment to the compensation of employees allocation which was expected to grow at an average annual rate of 7,6% from 2009/10 to 2012/13. The DCS spent 95,3 % of its budget, 3,6% less than the 98,9% it spent in the 2008/09 financial year.
2.2 Only the Corrections and Social Reintegration programmes spent 100% of their allocations, while the Administration, Security, Care, Development and Facilities programmes spending 94,5%, 97%, 96%, 97,9% and 85.5% respectively.
2.3 The Administration programme received a total of R370 159 million in virements from other programmes to fund the purchase of vehicles.
2.4 The DCS received R115 418 million in revenue from amongst others fines, penalties, sales of goods and services and dividends on rent and land.
2.5 The DCS’ expenditure on compensation of employees increased from R9,1 billion in 2009/10 to R9,5 billion in 2010/11. Most of the allocation was spent on salaries. Performance bonuses increased from R18,262 million in 2009/10 to R80,875 million in 2010/11. There was also a notable decrease in the expenditure on compensative/circumstantial payments.
2.6 The DCS’ expenditure on Goods and Services increased from R3,5 billion in 2009/10 to R4 billion in 2010/11. Expenditure on infrastructure and planning showed a massive increase from R441 000 to R2,247 million. Expenditure on consultants and outsourced services, contractors and business and advisory services showed a decrease to R520 million, R44 012 million and R24 669 million respectively. This improvement notwithstanding the Committee remains deeply critical of the DCS’ over-reliance on consultants. The DCS’ Government Information and Technology Office (GITO),for example, employed 83 consultants in 2010/11, at a cost of a staggering R58 million. This is unacceptable particularly given that the DCS appears to have put no measures in place to ensure skills transfer from consultants to its own officials.
2.7 The DCS’ expenditure on computer services amounted to R142,922 million. R130,652 million of this amount was paid for services rendered by the State Information and Technology Agency (SITA) which is more than double that spent in the previous financial year. The expenditure on external computer service providers was reduced from R26, 757 million in 2009/10 to R12 270 million in 2010/11.
2.8 Transport assets to the value of R258 920 million were transferred out of the DCS, destroyed or scrapped and only R768 000 of that amount was recovered.
2.9 The DCS again spent its budget irregularly in 2010/11. The irregular expenditure reported includes R50 000 for the “transformation of an office into a video remand site”, and R944 000 paid to suppliers who failed to declare their employment by the state, their connection with a person employed by the state or their relationship with persons involved in the evaluation and/or adjudication of the bids as per the requirement of Practice Note 7 of 2009/10.
2.10 The DCS reported R68 000 in fruitless and wasteful expenditure, the bulk of which was incurred when delegates failed to attend an employee assistance programme (EAP) conference. Investigations into this, and four other incidents are pending.
2.11 The DCS reported claims against it amounting to R1,3 billion. This amount included those carried over from the previous financial year. In 2010/11 only R34,855 million was claimed, comprising amongst others R7,665 million from assaults/bodily injury claims; R7,417 million from unlawful detention claims; and R1,941 million from motor accidents.
3. Audit outcome
3.1 The DCS yet again received a qualified audit opinion resulting from the addition and disposal of movable tangible assets. Discrepancies are related to the weaknesses in the LOGIS accounting system which does not allow separate processing of internal transfers and therefore transactions are duplicated. The weaknesses were being addressed.
3.2 Matters of emphasis included unauthorised expenditure to the amount of R483 million incurred in the 2008/09 financial year, which resulted from implementation of Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) Resolution No.1 of 2007 on the improvements in salaries and other conditions of services for the 2007/08 to 2010/11 financial years. Since the publication of the audit outcome SCOPA has recommended that the unauthorised expenditure be funded through savings in the DCS’ budget.
3.3 The DCS incurred material losses amounting to R3,387 million. This amount comprised R2.9 million for significant losses in state vehicles, losses from claims amounting to R218 000 and R247 000 from other sources.
3.4 Inadequate internal control was also identified as a matter of emphasis. Weak leadership had resulted in poor reporting on financial and performance information, poor human resource management that failed to ensure the availability of adequate and sufficient skilled resources especially in the area of asset management, ineffective monitoring of the development and implementation of action plans to address internal control deficiencies, and the failure to establish an effective information technology (IT) governance framework to support and enable the DCS’ business, deliver value and improve performance.
3.5 Inadequate financial and performance management resulted in, amongst others, the submission of inaccurate and incomplete financial statements and other information, the unavailability at times of regular, accurate and complete financial and performance reports which were supported and evidenced by reliable information, and insufficient review and monitoring of compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
3.6 Governance-related weaknesses included that controls were not carefully selected and appropriately developed to mitigate risks in financial and performance reporting. Ongoing monitoring and supervision were not always undertaken to allow an assessment of the effectiveness of internal controls over financial and performance reporting.
PART B: THE DCS’ STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES, 2011/12 BUDGET ALLOCATION AND FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE AS AT 30 JUNE 2011
1. Overview of the DCS’ Key Strategic Focus Areas
1.1 According to its strategic plan the DCS’ mission is to contribute to maintaining and protecting a just, peaceful and safe society by enforcing court decisions and sentences in line with relevant legislation, detaining all inmates in safe custody while ensuring their human dignity, and promoting the rehabilitation, social responsibility and human development of all offenders. The DCS’ strategic planning has, since 2005, been informed by the White Paper.
1.2 The following three policy priorities will be pursued over the medium term:
- strengthening the remand detention system through the creation of a Remand Detention Management Branch (RDMB) responsible for coordinating the provision of services to remand detainees wherever they may be held, and ensuring the effective implementation of the White Paper on Remand Detention;
- improving the parole system through the implementation of legislative reforms aimed at strengthening the parole system thereby ensuring the protection of inmate rights and minimising the risk parolees posed to society; and
- ensuring the rehabilitation of offenders by recruiting suitably-qualified staff, upgrading facilities to manage overcrowding and strengthening partnerships with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and communities, so as to strengthen and complement rehabilitation efforts.
2. Overview of the DCS’ 2011/12 Budget
2.1 The DCS received R16,6 billion in the 2011/12 financial year i.e. 3,3% of the total national budget and 13,7 percent of the allocation to the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster which received 24% i.e. R120,8 billion of the national budget.
2.2 The DCS’ budget has increased by R1,3 billion i.e 8,7% in nominal terms. In real terms however the budget shows an increase of only R568,3 million.
2.3 Expenditure is expected to increase at an annual rate of 6,9%, reaching R18,8 billion in 2013/14. The projected increase is due largely to increased spending on the compensation of employees which in 2011/12 amounts to R10,97 billion, or 66% of the budget. It should be noted that this allocation has increased at an annual rate of about 14,7% between 2007/08 and 2010/11 and is expected to grow to R12,2 billion in the medium term reflecting an annual average rate of 6%.
2.4 As was the case in 2009/10 and 2010/11 the Security and Administration programmes, receiving 34% and 27% of the total budget respectively, account for the largest part of the total budget. The Development and Social Reintegration programmes jointly receive only 7%, thus remaining the programmes with the smallest allocations. The Care allocation has however increased by 1%, to 11% in 2011/12.
3. Financial Performance as at 30 June 2011
At the end of June 2011 the DCS had spent R3.5 billion of its budget. Though 2,7% less than what was projected, the 21,3% that was spent is a marked improvement on the 19.9% that was spent in the first quarter of the previous financial year. Expenditure on the Administration, Security, Corrections and Social Reintegration programmes was slightly below target. Expenditure on programmes Care, Development and Facilities was considerably lower than what was projected.
3.1 The Administration programme only spent R1,033 billion i.e 23,4% of its allocation. This is 1% lower than expected. That the allocation towards staff accommodation had at the end of the first quarter not yet been spent is a cause for concern. Under-expenditure is attributed to unfilled posts and delays in the processing of SITA accounts.
3.2 The Security programme reported that R1 267,5 billion i.e. 22,6% of its allocation was spent. This is 0,6% lower than the approved 23,2% that should have been spent. Under-expenditure is related mostly to unfilled posts.
3.3 The Corrections programme spent R360,3 million i.e. 23.4% of its allocation. The 1,4% lower than projected expenditure is a cause for concern. Under-expenditure is related mostly to unfilled posts.
3.4 The Care programme spent R348,7 million i.e.18,8% of its allocation. This is 5,4% lower than what was projected. Under-expenditure is mainly attributed to the still outstanding OSD for psychologists which was approved after the end of the quarter, and unfilled posts.
3.5 The Development programme reported R111,9 million i.e. 18,9 % expenditure, 4% lower that the approved 22% that should have been spent. Under-expenditure was due to unfilled posts, and low spending on workshop and agricultural materials.
3.6 The Social Reintegration programme reported R129,6 million i.e. 22,5% expenditure, 0,7% lower than what was approved. Under-expenditure was mainly due to unfilled posts.
3.7 The Facilities programme spent R277,8 million i.e. 14% of its allocation. This is 10,8% less than the approved expenditure. Under-expenditure was mainly due to low billing from the Department of Public Works (DPW)
PART D: RECOMMENDATIONS
4. The DCS must put in place measures for ensuring compliance with all relevant legislation, particularly the CSA, and service delivery in line with its mandate, as a matter of urgency. As reported in 2010 a turnaround strategy has been developed, but it has to date not yet been submitted to the Committee. This strategy must contain clear performance indicators, be clear about who is responsible for functions, and about the sanctions should those functions not be performed. The detailed turnaround strategy should be tabled before the Committee by no later than 30 November 2011.
5. The DCS’ excessive use of consultants, particularly in relation to IT must be addressed immediately. It was agreed that:
- The DCS should provide a detailed report on the its management of IT consultants in particular how appointments are made, how the duration of contracts are determined, and exit strategies in place when contracts expire. The report should be submitted by 23 November 2011.
- The DCS should have developed a strategy for skills transfer from IT consultants to DCS officials, as well as for recruiting, training and retaining appropriately skilled officials by 31 March 2012.
- The DCS should in all future monthly and quarterly reports clearly indicate expenditure on outsourced IT services.
- The DCS should provide the Committee with a costed implementation plan for the overhaul of the DCS’ IT systems to ensure that it supports and enables business thereby improving performance. This report should be provided by 23 November 2011.
- The DCS should submit a report detailing how much of what had over the past five years been spent on IT, amounted to fruitless and wasteful expenditure. This report should be submitted by 23 November 2011.
DCS’ inability to fill even its most critical vacancies remains a major cause
for concern. This failure to attract and retain employees seriously impedes
service delivery, and limits the Department’s contribution to
7. The R2,9 million losses related to damage to state vehicles is unacceptable. The DCS’ future quarterly reports should include a performance indicator for the downward management of damage to, and the writing-off of state vehicles.
8. The Committee emphasises its extreme concern about the DCS’ leadership instability, particularly at regional level. Resignations and suspensions in key management positions are too frequent and impact negatively on the DCS’ leadership stability. This must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
9. The DCS’ attempts at realising the rehabilitation and reintegration objectives contained in the White Paper are undermined by its continued administrative challenges. Leadership instability, lack of discipline and corruption seriously impede service delivery and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
10. It remains a matter of serious concern that programmes responsible for the welfare and rehabilitation of offenders consistently receive the smallest share of the DCS’ budget. It remains to be seen whether, without sufficient funds having been allocated to these programmes, the DCS will achieve Government’s objective of reducing serious and violent crime through rehabilitating inmates and equipping them with skills to be used after release, thus reducing the recidivist rate, and thereby contributing to South Africans being and feeling safe. The high rate of repeat-offending is indicative of the DCS’ limited success in the area of social reintegration. If a significant improvement is to be made, a radical shift in the budget allocation to this programme would have to be effected.
11. As recommended in previous reports on the DCS’ budget allocation, the budget must be aligned with its rehabilitation and reintegration objectives. The DCS must reconsider and increase its targets for developmental interventions and make the requisite allocations to its Care and Development, Social Reintegration and Corrections programmes. These programmes are integral to the reduction of recidivism, which is the only measure for determining the DCS’ success in “correcting” offending behaviour and rehabilitating offenders.
12. The Committee received disturbing reports that when the DCS’ Operation Vala, which is aimed at increasing security and minimising escapes over the festive season, commences, oversight bodies such as the JICS are denied access to inmates and correctional centres. The DCS should ensure that all heads of correctional centres (HCCs) are aware that independent correctional centre visitors (ICCVs) should be permitted access to centres, even during Operation Vala. The JICS should report all cases where access is denied.
13. Given that the DCS is a security institution vetting should be prioritised. All new recruits should be vetted, and a strategy should be developed, and timeframes established for the vetting of all centre-level and office-based officials, at all levels. This strategy should be submitted to the Committee by 31 March 2012.
14. The DCS reported that 4 074 disciplinary and misconduct hearings were finalised in the 2010/11 financial year. The most serious types of misconduct included failure to comply with prevailing legislation, regulations or legal obligations (438); absenteeism (1 418); dereliction of duty (400), theft, bribery, fraud, corruption (172); intoxication while on duty (110), assault/attempted assault while on duty (208); and breaching of security measures (400). All of these are serious offences in any work environment, but even more so in a security environment, where they should warrant dismissal. The sanctions imposed in the cases that were finalised contained only 88 dismissals however. The Committee is puzzled that despite the large number of officials charged with, and found guilty of these offences, very few were dismissed. The DCS should ensure that their proclamations of zero tolerance for all types of corruption resonate with every official from the most senior to the newest recruits, and that the types of sanctions meted out should match the offences committed. All cases that warrant criminal investigations, in addition to internal investigations, should be reported to the South African Police Service.
PART D: CONCLUSION
The Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services, having considered the DCS’ performance in the 2010/11 financial year, and the first quarter of the current financial year, acknowledges improvements made, but remains concerned about its financial management, service delivery performance, poor monitoring and control, and severe staff constraints. The recommendations made in this report are aimed at addressing these concerns, and echoes earlier recommendations for the alignment of the DCS’ budget with its rehabilitation mandate.
Report to be considered