REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ON BUDGET VOTE 21: CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, DATED 23 MARCH 2011
The Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services, having considered the Department of Correctional Services’ 2011/12 budget (Vote 21) and strategic plan, reports as follows:
1.1 In its consideration of the Department of Correctional Services’ (DCS) 2011/12 budget and strategic plan the Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services (the Committee) received written and oral submissions during stakeholder hearings (16 March 2011) as well as a briefing by the DCS (22 March 2011).
1.2 The Committee invited comment on the DCS’ 2009/10 budget from the Judicial Inspectorate of Correctional Services (JICS), labour unions, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and research institutions. The National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO), the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative (CSPRI) and the Public Servants’ Association (PSA) were able to present their submissions before the Committee, while the Police and Prison Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) and Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre (TLAC) made written submissions. The JICS, owing to the imminent appointment of its first chief executive officer (CEO) and the still vacant Director’s post, although not in a position to adequately analyse the 2011/12 budget, was able to attend the interactions.
1.3 The DCS officials who appeared before the Committee included: Mr T Moyane (National Commissioner), Mr S Sokhele (Chief Financial Officer), Mr J Moji (Special Adviser to the National Commissioner: Information Technology), Ms N Mareka (Deputy Commissioner: Financial Management), Dr J Coetzee (Deputy Commissioner: Operations) and Mr Z Modise (Chief Deputy Commissioner: Corrections)
1.4 This report comprises a programme-by-programme summary of key aspects of the DCS’ budget and strategic objectives, a summary of the main concerns raised by stakeholders and finally the Committee’s observations and recommendation. Given the recurrent nature of the DCS’ challenges, this report should be read along with previous reports including the Committee’s 2010 Budgetary Review and Recommendation (BRR) report.
1.5 The report should, as in 2009 and 2010, be read in the context of the time constraints imposed on the Committee and especially stakeholders by the parliamentary programme as well as the limited time available between the tabling of the DCS’ strategic plan and the Budget debate.
2. OVERVIEW OF THE DCS’ KEY STRATEGIC FOCUS AREAS
2.1 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 on Corrections (“White Paper”).
2.2 The following three policy priorities will be pursued over the medium term:
- strengthening the remand detention system by creating 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 NGOs and communities, so as to strengthen and complement rehabilitation efforts.
3. OVERVIEW OF THE 2011/12 BUDGET
3.1 The DCS received R16 559,2 billion in the 2011/12 financial year i.e. 3,3 percent of the total national budget and 13,7 percent of the allocation to the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster which received 24 percent i.e. R120 790,8 billion of the national budget.
3.2 The DCS’ budget has increased by R1,3 billion i.e 8,7 percent in nominal terms. In real terms however the budget shows an increase of only R568,3 million.
3.3 Expenditure is expected to increase at annual rate of 6,9 percent, 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 964, 8 billion, or 66 percent of the budget. It should be noted that this allocation has increased at an annual rate of about 14,7 percent 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 percent
3.4 As was the case in 2009/10 and 2010/11 the Security and Administration programmes, receiving 34 percent and 27 percent of the total budget respectively, account for the largest part of the total budget. The Development and Social Reintegration programmes jointly receive only 7 percent, thus remaining the programmes with the smallest allocations. The Care programme however has increased by 1 percent to 11 percent in 2011/12.
4. OVERVIEW OF ALLOCATION ACROSS PROGRAMMES
4.1 The Administration programme provides the administrative, management, financial, information, communication and technology, research, policy co-ordination and good governance support functions necessary for service delivery, good governance and accountability to oversight institutions. As in the preceding two financial years the programme has received the second largest allocation i.e R4, 45 billion. The allocation shows a 9,7 percent nominal increase, which translates to a 4,7 percent real increase. Much of growth in the allocation is due to the planned implementation of the Master Information System (MIS) Plan, which provides for system development, upgrading network and backup systems, as well as the integration of DCS information with that of other JCPS departments.
4.2 The Security programme aims to provide safe and healthy conditions that are consistent with human dignity for all inmates, thereby supporting security for both personnel and the public. It remains the programme receiving the highest allocation - in 2011/12, R5,598 billion i.e. 34 percent translating to a real increase of 3,3 percent i.e. R162,2 million. Growth in expenditure is expected to increase at an annual rate of 7,1 percent reaching to R6,4 billion over the medium term. Much of this growth can be ascribed to the intended improved security at correctional centre level as well as to the operational costs of the Brandvlei, Van Rhynsdorp and Warmbokkeveld correctional centres that are currently being upgraded. Expenditure on consultants decreased from R14 million in 2009/10 to R89 000 in 2010/11 largely because control security rooms will now be manned by correctional officers.
4.3 The Corrections programme provides needs-based correctional sentence plans and interventions based on an assessment of an inmate’s security and criminal profile. It targets all elements associated with offending behaviour, and focuses on the offence for which a person is sentenced to correctional supervision, remanded in a correctional centre, or paroled. The programme’s allocation increased by 5,5 percent to R1 537, 3 billion. In real terms however the allocation has increased by only 0, 65 percent or R10 million. Accounting for 9, 3 percent of the DCS’ total budget; 98 percent of the allocation goes to compensation of employees. Salary increases will result in increased expenditure which will amount to R16 billion by 2013/14.
4.4 The Care programme provides for needs-based programmes and services aimed at maintaining the personal wellbeing of incarcerated offenders by facilitating physical fitness, social functioning, health care, and spiritual, moral and psychological wellbeing. In 2011/12 the programme receives 10, 6 percent of the DCS’ total budget i.e. R1,854 billion, 45 percent of which going towards the compensation of employees. The allocation to this programme shows a 5, 52 percent increase, which translates to a real increase of just R12 million. Expenditure is projected to grow to R2,1 billion over the medium term owing to additional funding of R40 million in 2012/13 and R42 million in 2013/14 for anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment for inmates.
4.5 The Development programme focuses on the personal development of offenders through the provision of programmes and services aimed at both skills and social development, including technical training, recreation, sports, education and the operation of prison farms and production workshops. The programme receives only 3,4 percent of the total budget i.e. R559,3 million, 78 percent of which goes towards employee compensation.
4.6 The Social Reintegration programme provides services focused on offenders’ preparation for release, their effective supervision after being paroled, and on facilitating their social reintegration. The programme reflects a 6, 32 percent increase, and receives only 3,5 percent of the total budget, 92 percent thereof going towards the compensation of employees. Over the medium term, expenditure on this programme is projected to reach R636 million.
4.7 The Facilities programme provides physical infrastructure that supports safe and secure custody, humane conditions, and corrective services, care, development and general administration. Its allocation increased by 18, 11 percent i.e. R403 million in 2011/12 and amounts to 12 percent of the DCS’ total budget. The bulk of the allocation is spent on the payment of capital assets including the construction of new correctional facilities and the upgrading of existing ones; only 4,6 percent is spent on compensation of employees.
5. OVERVIEW OF STAKEHOLDER INPUT
The following concerns and observations were made by stakeholders and do not necessarily reflect the Committee’s views.
5.1 White Paper on Correctional Services
It is noted that virtually all commentators have drawn the conclusion
that although well-intentioned, the White Paper fell short of the requirements
of modern policy making. This is perhaps most evident in the lack of impact it
is had since 2005.
While it comments widely on overcrowding, the state of DCS infrastructure, institutional culture, corruption, and poor training are some of the major challenges facing the correctional system, it is silent on human rights violations and particularly the minimum standards of humane detention, places little importance on compliance with the Correctional Services legislation and does not articulate what would be needed for successful implementation of the policy. Most stakeholders questioned the appropriateness of the White Paper as a vehicle for the transformation, and suggested that in its stead, the DCS should be guided by legislation governing it, including the United Nations “Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners” to which
Concern about the DCS’ inability to deliver on its rehabilitation mandate remains. Only 53 percent of the sentenced population will be involved in correctional programmes, with 70 percent of all those sentenced to 24 months or longer being provided with correctional sentence plans (CSP). The CSP serves as a guide for the rendering of services, programmes and activities to offenders and is developed following an extensive assessment process by a multi-disciplinary team. Given the DCS’ chronic professional staff shortage, it is not clear how these targets, even if delivered on, will have any meaningful impact.
Stakeholders further agreed that whilst a correctional system must rehabilitate offenders, the impact of the state of correctional centres and the DCS’ limited capacity could not be ignored. It was argued that given these realities focus must be placed on detention under humane conditions and a management style with a human rights orientation aiming to succeed in the provision of basic skills such as literacy. Such an approach will form a firm basis upon which to build towards the provision of more sophisticated rehabilitation services.
5.3 Renaming of Correctional Centres
Most stakeholders were dumbfounded by the DCS’ recent decision to rename eleven correctional centres and even more so by the claim that the project would have no cost implications. Given the severe challenges it is facing the DCS stakeholders agreed that the DCS must concentrate its efforts in areas such as the recruitment and retention of staff, safe and humane detention and the eradication of the corruption that has plagued it for a number of years.
The DCS’ expenditure on this programme remains high. A considerable amount has been spent on security-related information technology (IT), yet less than 20 percent of the IT systems were functional. The DCS seems unable to identify IT systems able to support its functions in a sustainable manner, and seems even less able to manage the very expensive projects they embark on resulting in what amounts to wasteful and fruitless expenditure as is apparently the case with the Sondolo IT contract. The CSPRI recommended that pending the resolution of the current situation, a moratorium be placed on any further IT-related projects.
5.5 Seven Day Establishment
Labour unions raised concerns about the impact the implementation of the seven day establishment (7DE), a 45-hour work week aligned to the Resolution 2 of 2009, had on officials. Given the DCS’ staff shortage the 7DE places officials’ lives at risk as those on duty often have to guard large numbers of inmates. Furthermore the litigation resulting from the 7DE has caused much suspicion and strained communication between the employer and the unions.
5.6 Filling of vacancies
Most stakeholders raised concerns about the DCS’ failure to fill its funded vacancies. This impacted on both service delivery to inmates, and labour conditions.
Overcrowding remains a major concern and stakeholders are adamant that building more correctional centres is not the appropriate solution. A number of measures including sentence reform and increased use of non-custodial sentencing, appropriate and affordable bail, effective utilisation of plea and sentence arrangements, and the utilisation of the relevant Criminal Procedure Act provisions, would offer much more cost-effective and immediate relief.
5.8 Role of Parliament in the budgetary process
All stakeholders have either explicitly called for, or alluded to the consideration of the DCS’ budget and strategic plan and public comment on it, to be more than simply a parliamentary process devoid of any real meaning. While it may not be practical or desirable to simply reject the DCS’ budget, the DCS must be held accountable for lack of delivery in terms of the plans tabled before Parliament.
6. COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS/COMMENTS
6.1 White Paper on Corrections
The Committee has consistently raised concerns about the apparent disjuncture between the ideals contained in the White Paper on Corrections, and the DCS’ planning. Calls for a review of the White Paper are noted and will receive serious consideration, particularly given stakeholders’ claims that at the time of its approval by Parliament, consultation had been inadequate.
6.2 Care, Development and Corrections
The DCS’ success can only be measured by the degree to which they successfully rehabilitate offending behaviour. The Care, Development and Corrections programmes are key to rehabilitation efforts, and yet the miniscule increase to the Care allocation notwithstanding, they remain grossly underfunded. Furthermore targets such as the commitment to all those serving sentences of 24 months or more having a CSP by 2015/16, have little real meaning as they speak to meeting an administrative requirement only, and are silent on improvements in rehabilitation. Stakeholders’ impatience with the DCS’ poor performance in terms of rehabilitation, and their resultant call for greater focus on basic services that contribute towards rehabilitation and reintegration, are noted and will be given due consideration.
6.3.1 The DCS’ attempts at the delivery of rehabilitation and reintegration services are undermined by its continued administrative crisis. Poor discipline, lack of commitment and corruption owing to inadequate management seriously impede delivery and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
6.3.2 In both its 2009 and 2010 reports on the DCS’ strategic plan and budget the Committee reported that the high expenditure on consultants and outsourced services was a cause for serious concern and that it was unconvinced that real efforts have been made to increase the DCS’ self-sufficiency and reduce reliance on consultants particularly in areas that are core to its mandate. The reported decrease in the use of consultants is therefore welcomed, but given the DCS’ history, will be closely monitored. For the DCS’ reliance on the services of consultants to be reduced to the absolute minimum, it must ensure that all funded vacancies are filled, and that, wherever possible, skills are transferred from consultants to its own officials.
6.3.3 The DCS’ information system management challenges date back to at least 2001, and is said to be addressed by the Master Information System (MIS) Plan to be implemented over a five-year period. Given the DCS’ severe and protracted challenges as far as managing information, and the consequent risks to security and administration, further discussion on how the implementation of the MIS plan can be fast-tracked is necessary.
6.3.4 The Strategic plan will be implemented through an Annual Performance Plan providing a quarterly breakdown of performance rates for the current financial year as well as the outer years of the MTEF. The Committee looks forward to the tabling of the DCS’ APP early in May 2011, and will use it as a key instrument in assessing the DCS performance.
6.3.5 The Committee further notes concerns raised about the 7DE, Occupational
Specific Dispensation (OSD) and the DCS’ housing policy, and commits itself to further discussions with both the DCS and organised labour.
6.3.6 The Committee is not unaware of the suspicions surrounding a number of the most lucrative tenders awarded by the DCS. Members have in the past sought clarity but none has been forthcoming. The chief among these, including the costly Sondolo IT contract mentioned above, will be more closely interrogated in the financial year, not only in order to be informed of the status of the contracts, but also to, where possible, assist the DCS in ensuring value for money.
6.4.1 This programme has consistently received the largest share of the DCS’ total budget, but has reaped little benefit: escapes, deaths and assault remain all too prevalent. It is noted that the DCS intends to reduce assaults to less than 4 162 escapes to less than 60 and unnatural deaths to less than 50. Furthermore the DCS intends to increase the number of centres with access control security turnstiles to 78 and that 7 percent of officials will be vetted in 2011/12. Concerns about assaults and deaths in detention and escapes from correctional centres have consistently been raised, particularly given in many cases officials are involved.
Correctional Services environment must be a highly secure environment if the
DCS is to act on the President’s call to ensure a safe
6.5.1 As reported in 2010 the Committee though aware of the 10 correctional centres that have been earmarked for refurbishment for utilisation as remand detention centres, information on the progress in this regard remains scant. It is hoped that with the imminent passing of the Correctional Matters Amendment legislation, which amongst others, provides for a remand detention framework, progress will be fast-tracked.
6.5.2 The Committee notes that delays in the procurement of the four new public private partnership (PPP) correctional centres have resulted in a R1,4 billion reduction in the DCS’ baseline. Funding will be reinstated once contracts have been signed. Although the Committee welcomes this development, concerns about the cost-effectiveness of PPP correctional centres remain, and will be the subject of further investigation during the current financial year.
As stated in previous reports overcrowding impedes service delivery to offenders, and makes humane conditions of incarceration impossible. Given that unsentenced offenders, many of whom are in prison simply because they cannot afford bail are the main contributors to overcrowding, increased cooperation within the JCPS cluster is vital to ensure increased use of non-custodial sentencing, the bail protocol and the relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act. Awareness must be raised among cluster members of the far-reaching budgetary and other implications, associated with overcrowding.
6.7 Filling of vacancies
The Committee notes with concern that despite the President’s call for all vacancies to be filled the DCS’ strategic plan still only reflects a commitment to reduce its vacancy rate to 11 percent in 2011/12. The National Commissioner’s commitment during the interrogation of the plan to filling all vacancies by the end of the financial year, and to hold regional commissioners to account in this regard, is welcomed and progress will be closely monitored.
6.8 Inmate labour
The Committee acknowledges the potential security risk when inmates are engaged in work activities, but remains convinced that with adequate management, prison labour can assist in making the DCS more self-sufficient, cutting on some of the costs, particularly in those areas that are currently being outsourced. Prison farms, factories and workshops must be utilised fully. The skills and work ethic developed through work programmes will also aid the rehabilitation and reintegration process.
6.9 Budgetary Review and Recommendation process
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 Budgetary Review and Recommendation (BRR) reports on the financial performance of departments accountable to them on an annual basis. The BRR report must be informed by a Committee’s interrogation of, amongst others, each national department’s medium-term 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 oversight visits. Essentially the BRR report is a committee’s assessment of a departments’ service delivery performance given its available resources, as well as the effectiveness and efficiency with which its programmes are implemented. Although BRR reports must be published at a specific time in the budget cycle, it is clear that the work that informs the report must be ongoing. The Committee regrets to report that, despite the significance of this process, the DCS has failed to respond to any of the seven recommendations contained in the 2010 BRR report, and that an assessment of their performance in terms of said recommendations has therefore not been possible.
7.1 The Committee acknowledges that greater synergy in the manner in which the DCS’ budget is allocated across programmes will not be achieved overnight, but urges that steady improvements be made to move towards such a balance.
7.2 Both in 2009 and 2010 the Committee had reported that it was extremely concerned that despite the rehabilitation and social reintegration objectives contained in the White Paper and echoed in the DCS’ core mandate, Development, Care and Social Reintegration programmes remain under-funded. The Committee had in both years however recommended that the budget be supported and undertook that it would interact with the DCS to monitor progress made towards greater synergy between strategic objectives and budget allocation. The 2011/12 budget does not reflect such synergy, and thus how the DCS intends to place rehabilitation at the centre of its activities, remains unclear and concerns raised in previous years remain.
7.3 The Committee had noted with concern the 8,6 percent under-expenditure reported at the end of the third quarter of the 2010/11 financial year. Much of this under-expenditure resulted from poor implementation of capital works programmes and failure to ensure the timeous receipt of invoices from the Department of Public Works (DPW). The practice of spending most funds during the last quarter of the financial year is unacceptable and reflects poor planning and inadequate financial management. The Committee will continue its close monitoring of the DCS performance in this regard.
7.4 The Committee recommends that the DCS’ 2011/12 budget be approved. Given the serious concerns raised above it will intensify its oversight and monitoring of whether the necessary improvements are made to ensure steady improvement in the rehabilitation of offenders and their successful reintegration upon release. All the DCS’ efforts must be geared towards this goal, and hinge upon efficient administrative practices and the combating of corruption, sufficient and appropriately trained and skilled officials, and where possible closer cooperation with NGOs.
The Committee thanks all those who appeared before it for their input and cooperation, and looks forward to fruitful interactions with all stakeholders as it performs its oversight of the DCS.
Report to be considered.