PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON CORRECTIONAL SERVICES’ BUDGETARY REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION REPORT ON THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES’ PERFORMANCE IN 2011/12, AND THE FIRST QUARTER OF THE CURRENT FINANCIAL YEAR - 23 OCTOBER 2012

1.         INTRODUCTION

1.         The Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act (Act 9 of 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 (Act 111 of 1998), 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.

 

3.         The 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 South Africa’s state-owned and privately-operated correctional centres.

 

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.         According to section 91 of the CSA, the DCS is responsible for the payment of all the JICS’ expenses. Though the ‘Money Bills’ legislation is silent on oversight over entities, the Committee believes that, although the JICS does not receive its allocation directly from National Treasury, but instead, and in line with the legislative provisions referred to above, from the DCS, the JICS’ performance too should be considered quarterly, to culminate in a final assessment during the BRR process in October each year. The Committee appreciates that in response to our March 2012 recommendation, the JICS’ 2011/12 Annual Report was tabled timeously, and that its consideration during the BRR finalisation period was possible. This report should therefore be read along with our report on the JICS financial performance during the 2011/12, and the first quarter of the current financial year.

 

6.         In preparing to report on the DCS’ financial and service delivery performance for the 2011/12 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 2011/12 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.

 

2.         PERFORMANCE ACROSS PROGRAMMES

The DCS succeeded in meeting only 47% of the 127 targets outlined in its 2011/12 strategic plan, but argued that the targets could not be met as it had realised after tabling of the 2011/12 strategic plan and budget, that many of them ought not to have been listed as targets. The Committee’s main areas of concern related to the DCS’ performance across programmes, are outlined below.

 

 

2.1.       Administration

2.1.1     Unlike in the previous financial year, the DCS had succeeded in meeting its target for the filling of vacancies, and at the end of the 2011/12, its vacancy rate stood at 3, 3%. Though progress has been made in this regard, the DCS still struggles to full critical posts key to achieving its rehabilitation objectives. Senior management positions, psychologists and social worker-posts reflect the highest vacancy levels. At the end of the first quarter of 2012/13, the DCS reported that it had only filled 198 of the targeted 570 posts. The DCS blamed its use of traditional recruitment methods that were not geared towards service delivery for the poor performance. Its corrective measures included allocating additional resources to “expedite the various recruitment processes”, but these bore no fruit.

2.1.2     Although the total number of misconduct cases registered decreased by 76, to 4 171 in 2011/12, the Committee remains very much concerned about the lack of appropriate action taken in the vast majority of the cases. Though the types of misconduct included theft, bribery, fraud and corruption (152 officials) dereliction of duties (234 officials), sleeping on duty (41 officials), being in possession of, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on duty (119, and 35 officials respectively), all offences that posed a threat to security, and therefore should be dismissible offences, only 183 disciplinary cases resulted in dismissal. The explanation that DCS managers were reluctant to challenge the outcome of disciplinary processes did little to allay concerns that lack of consistent and appropriate action had resulted in the extreme ill-discipline exhibited by some officials. Though this may relate to the DCS organizational culture, the current DCS’ management has shown little evidence that it was able to make the slightest change to this culture. It was unlikely that the suggestion that, given the nature of the DCS’ work, the National Commissioner of Correctional Services should have the power to summarily dismiss those guilty of offences that pose a risk to security, would yield any meaningful results.

 

2.2        Security

2.2.1     Despite this programme having been allocated R5, 36 billion in 2011/12, the DCS succeeded in meeting very few of its key security targets. The DCS’ core function is to ensure the safe custody of those in its care, yet it failed to reduce the level of assaults as per the target. In the first quarter of 2012/13 the DCS also failed to meet the target set in this regard. According to the annual report 17% of assaults on inmates are perpetrated by officials charged with their care. Official-on–inmate assaults were attributed to the “mindset of officials”, and misinterpretation of the use of minimum force. Alarmingly the JICS reported that in very few instances in which officials were implicated, appropriate disciplinary action was taken.

2.2.2     As alarming as the number of assaults, is the fact that on average, 11 offenders die of unnatural causes in incarceration every three months. Although the DCS had succeeded to in the first quarter of 2011/12, meet its target of reducing deaths to 0,03%, the Committee remains of the opinion that a single unnatural death in incarceration is unacceptable particularly given the DCS above-mentioned responsibility to guarantee safe and secure incarceration.

2.2.3     According to the annual report, a key target in the development of an Integrated Security Technology Strategy was not achieved owing to the DCS’ limited technical expertise. Affected programmes include the Automated Persons Identification System (APIS), Audio Video Remand (AVR), Body Scanning Devices, Inmate Tracking, Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), Security Access Control and Security Fences. In the first quarter of the 2012/13 financial year, the DCS reported that only half of the targeted 78 correctional centres had been equipped with fully functional access control security turnstiles. The under performance was ascribed to the fact that when the maintenance contract expired on 31 March 2012, specifications for new maintenance contracts had not yet been completed. The upgrade, repair and maintenance of the systems have since been registered with the Independent Development Trust (IDT) for the appointment of a service provider to develop bid specifications and a bill of quantities.

2.2.4     Given that the programme annually receives the second largest portion of the DCS’ overall budget, the Committee remains extremely concerned about the DCS’ failure to manage the often very costly contracts awarded under this programme.

 

2.3        Corrections

2.3.1     Although the DCS had reached its target of reducing over crowding to below 36%, the level of overcrowding had increased from 34.87% in 2010/11 to 35.95% in 2011/12. The Committee concedes that the DCS can do very little to control the inmate population, and therefore welcomes Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster initiatives aimed at reducing overcrowding.

2.3.2     At the end of March 2012, 8 590 offenders were serving sentences of less than 24 months. The Committee welcomes that 30 dedicated facilities/units have been identified nationally to accommodate offenders serving sentences of less than 24 months.

 

 

 

2.4        Care

2.4.1     Section 12(1) of the Correctional Services Act (Act 111 of 1998) provides that, “the Department must provide, within its available resources, adequate health care services, based on the principle of primary health care, in order to allow every prisoner to lead a healthy life”. The programme should thus provide needs-based care initiatives aimed at maintaining the well-being of incarcerated persons.

2.4.2     In 2011/12 the targets for inmates being tested for HIV, mentally ill offenders receiving receive treatment and the number of offenders participating in care programmes were exceeded. Only 69% of inmates with CD4 counts below 350 received anti-retroviral treatment however. The DCS explained that the low performance could be ascribed to some offenders refusing to take treatment, while others were undergoing the treatment readiness counseling prescribed by National Department of Health anti-retroviral treatment (ART) guidelines, and therefore could not yet receive treatment.

 

2.5        Development

2.5.1     The programme provides needs-based development services to all offenders, but the target in relation to skills development and production workshops could not be reached. Only 3 924 of the targeted 7 058 offenders participated in skills development, while only 1 608 of the targeted 1 890 participated in production workshops 2011/12. The main reason for the poor performance was the shortage of technical educators, artisans and other professionals for provision of skills development.

2.5.2     All education-related targets were achieved during the 2011/12 financial year. Eight facilities were registered as full-time schools, and the target for offenders participating in Further Education and Training (FET) programmes was exceeded, largely owing to some DCS regions establishing partnerships with external FET colleges thus ensuring increased enrolment.

2.5.3     Section 40 (1) of the CSA provides that “sufficient work must as far as practicable be provided to keep prisoners active for a normal working day”. Inmates may be compelled to do such work. Although the DCS has vast tracts of agricultural land, and an inmate population of approximately 160 000, it still could not succeed in reaching its agriculture programme-related targets. Reasons for the under-achievement included dilapidated machinery and staff shortages owing to inappropriate shifts systems.

 

 

2.6        Social Reintegration

2.6.1     The programme aims to provide services focused on offenders’ preparation for release, their effective supervision after release on parole, and the facilitation of their social reintegration into the community. In this programme to a number of targets were not met.

 

2.7        Facilities

2.7.1     The construction of correctional facilities continues to pose major challenges. The main challenge being long delays in completion of projects which inevitably lead to increases in construction costs, under-spending and rollover of funds. The Committee is of the opinion, that better planning and more control by the DCS over projects managed by third parties is needed.

2.7.2     This programme was the major contributor to the DCS under-spending in 2011/12. This is mainly as a result of delays in the completion of construction programmes underway in the Western Cape.

2.7.3     In the first quarter of the 2012/13, a series of targets under the new sub-programme facilities could not be achieved owing to delays by the contractors involved. Others could not be achieved because of delays in the finalisation of business cases, slow procurement of audit facilities and the transferring of processes from the DPW to the DCS. Despite the persistent challenges in the working relationship between the DCS and Department of Public Works (DPW) the long overdue service level agreement had at the time of reporting not yet been concluded.

2.7.4     The Committee is concerned at the delays both in the finalisation of the facilities in Brandvlei, Ceres and Van Rhynsdrop, as well as in the development of an alternative procurement model for additional bed space.

 

3.         FINANCIAL INFORMATION

3.1        The DCS was allocated an adjusted budget of R16, 687 billion in the 2011/12 financial year, and underspent by 5,4%. At the end of the first quarter of the 2012/13 financial year the DCS had spent 20,84% of its R17,172 billion allocation. This constituted a 2, 33% under-expenditure.

3.2        In 2011/12 Parliament approved that the R483, 821 million unauthorised expenditure incurred in 2008/09 should be funded by the DCS, and this payment was made against the R893,9 million under expenditure recorded.

3.3        The Administration programme received a final appropriation of R4.9 billion, but only spent R4.4 billion. The reasons for the 2011/12 under-expenditure included the DCS inability to fill vacancies and thus having a lower than expected expenditure on compensation of employees. At the end of the first quarter of the 2012/13 the DCS had overspent on its budget for this programme by 0.09%. The over-expenditure resulted from amongst others higher than anticipated expenditure on legal services.

3.4        The Security programme received a final appropriation of R5 354 799 billion, of which only 99.8% was spent. By the end of March 2012 the DCS had underspent on its Incarceration programme, which included corrections, facilities and security: only 21,3% of the projected 23,73% of the allocation was spent. The under expenditure was the result of low spending on contractors, outstanding DPW invoices and outstanding general salary increases.

3.5        The Corrections programme received a final appropriation R1 636 844 billion of which R1 596 844 billion was spent. The under-expenditure was ascribed to amongst others, savings accrued under goods and services.

3.6        The Care, Development and Social Reintegration programmes exhausted their respective 2011/12 allocations. At 30 June 2012 all three programmes had underspent on the first quarter 2012/13 allocations.

 

4          2011/12 AUDIT OUTCOME

4.1        The DCS received a qualified audit opinion. The 2011/12 audit outcome revealed that serious challenges in relation to the DCS’ expenditure management, procurement and contracts, human resource management, internal control, governance, financial and performance management, and leadership remain. These concerns echo many alluded to by the Committee in previous reports.

4.2        In terms of the DCS’ predetermined objectives, the AGSA found that information provided by the DCS was neither useful nor reliable, and that there was a significant level of non-compliance with laws and regulations. The AGSA observed no significant change since 2010/11.

4.3        While the DCS reported no unauthorized expenditure in the 2011/12 financial year, its irregular, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure had increased to R214 million, and R71 million respectively.

4.4        The DCS’ performance in terms of its contract management and adherence to procurement policies, remains extremely poor. According to the AGSA it continues to make itself guilty of uncompetitive and unfair procurement processes, fails to observe even the most basic procurement principles, and remains unvigilant with regard to doing business with prohibited suppliers, or those in its employ.

4.5        The AGSA found that sick leave abuse, and irregular overtime payments persisted, with little evidence that the accounting officer had attempted to prevent such abuse. It was also found that there were no established policies and procedures that would enable and support the execution of internal control objectives, processes and responsibilities.

4.6        A whole range of weaknesses in the DCS’ information technology controls were found. These included the absence of an IT and Project Governance Framework, and disaster recovery plan.

4.7        The Auditor General had identified a range of challenges which pointed too ineffective management. The late implementation of projects and the consequent underspending, were the direct result of poor management. In addition those charged with governance had not adequately reviewed the annual financial statement before auditing commenced, and statements were not prepared in accordance with the prescribed financial reporting framework, or supported by full and proper records.

4.8        Upon interrogation of the DCS’ Annual Report and Audit outcome, the DCS senior management appeared reluctant to acknowledge their part in the department’s continued poor performance. This reluctance draws into question their commitment and/or ability to implement the necessary strategies to ensure better performance. The Committee is pleased that the Minister of Correctional Services undertook to drive the process of reporting to the AGSA on a quarterly basis with regard to the deficiencies identified.

 

5.         NOTEWORTHY DEVELOPMENTS

5.1.       The Correctional Matters Amendment Act, No 5 of 2011

5.1.1     The Correctional Matters Amendment Act (No 5 of 2011) came into operation on 1 March 2012. According to the Annual Report, the legislation represents a major policy change in the manner in which remand detention will be managed, and is supported by the White Paper on Remand Detention. The Committee welcomes that remand detention would now be more efficiently managed to ensure that those awaiting trial are not held for unnecessarily long periods, and that their rights will be protected while incarcerated.

 

5.2.       Medical Parole policy

5.2.1     In addition to transforming the remand detention regime, the above mentioned act also provides for a new medical parole framework in terms of which a Medical Parole Advisory Board considers all medical parole applications. The Medical Parole Advisory Board was on 23 February 2012, and at the time of reporting had already considered a number of cases.

 

5.3.       Offender Labour Policy Framework

5.3.1     According to the annual report the Minister had approved the framework which has been disseminated to the regions as part of a consultative process.  The policy will increase offender labour.

 

5.4.       Public Private Partnership (PPP) correctional centres

5.4.1     In October 2011, after much debate about the true value of utilising a public private partnership-funding model to procure more correctional centres, the DCS announced that it would not proceed with the process of procuring an additional four correctional centres through the above-mentioned funding model.

 

5.5.       Organisational Restructuring

5.5.1     An organisational restructuring proposal was submitted to the former Minister of Correctional Services in 2011/12. According to the 2011/12 annual report the proposed restructuring is aimed at addressing “serious functional misalignments”, the accounting officer’s “unmanageable span of command” and to correctly align strategic and operations management functions. Though it is not clear whether the proposal had been approved, the phased implementation of the restructuring commenced at the most senior level on 1 June 2012. The most notable change in the DCS structure is the creation of a chief operations officer (COO) post. The COO reports directly to the National Commissioner, and is responsible for the management of the six regions. The Committee had agreed that the initial meeting should be postponed to allow the newly appointed Minister opportunity to study the structure. At the time of reporting no indication had yet been received that the DCS was ready to present the structure to the Committee.

 

5.6.       Extension of nutrition services contract

5.6.1     In February 2012 the National Commissioner informed the Committee that the contract outsourcing nutrition services across the six regions had had to be extended until 31 January 2013. The extension was necessitated by the fact that the affected correctional centres were not yet capable yet of preparing meals for inmates owing to major maintenance work that needed to be performed on their kitchens. The Committee was assured that the extension was contractually and procedurally sound, and that as from 1 February 2013 nutrition services across all centres would be provided by the DCS. The National Commissioner assured the Committee that the then Chief Deputy Commissioner: Development and Care would provide quarterly updates on progress made in the refurbishment of the kitchens. In early October 2012 the Committee was requested to postpone all interactions on the nutrition services contract pending the outcome of a feasibility study aimed at ascertaining whether the DCS providing nutrition services itself was indeed the most feasible route to take. The matter should be thoroughly interrogated and discussed with the Committee before the current contract expires.

 

5.7.       Audit Committee

5.7.1     The Committee agreed in 2011 that the Audit Committee responsible for the DCS should comment on the DCS’ quarterly performance. In May 2012 the Audit Committee submitted their independent assessment of the DCS’ performance which detailed a number of challenges including the continued IT-challenges, inaccurate reporting on performance information, poor risk management, and failure by the DCS to properly remedy challenges identified by the Auditor General. The DCS challenged the Audit Committee’s report. The Committee had communicated its intention to meet with both parties to discuss the areas of disagreement, but subsequently learnt that both the Audit Committee Chairperson, and the Deputy Chairperson were relieved of their duties, and that a new audit committee had been appointed.

 

 

6.         RECOMMENDATIONS

The Committee requests that the Minister of Correctional Services (the Minister) ensures that the following recommendations are considered, and where possible, implemented.

 

6.1        Quality of reporting

6.1.1     The Committee must again express its dissatisfaction that, as was the case in the preceding two annual reports, credibility of the information contained in the Annual Report remains questionable. The DCS should remain cognizant of the fact that they have a responsibility to ensure that all information submitted to Parliament is accurate. Failure to do so may be interpreted as an attempt to mislead Parliament, and thwart the Committee’s oversight activities.

6.1.2     The AGSA again reported that there was no clear link between the indicators and targets contained in the 2011/12 strategic plan, and that this made definitive assessments of the DCS’ success in meeting targets impossible. As stated in previous reports the DCS should ensure that indicators and targets contained in its strategic plan, annual performance plans and annual performance reports are properly aligned.

 

6.2        2011/12 Financial Performance

6.2.1     The Department should, as undertaken, present the Committee with its strategies for addressing the concerns identified by the AGSA on 28 November 2012.

6.2.2     The Committee remains concerned that because the DCS is failing to report on its financial and service delivery performance on a monthly basis, it is unable to detect areas of non-compliance and has very little practice in providing useful information that is properly supported, once auditing commences. The same concern was raised in the 2010/11 reporting period. The DCS’ quarterly financial and administrative reports should be supplemented by monthly reports on financial and service delivery performance.

6.2.3     Although the Committee has not been informed of the reasons for the disbanding of the previous audit committee, it has met with two of the three members of the new committee to express the Committee’s concerns regarding the DCS’ performance. The DCS should be reminded of the important role an independent audit committee plays in ensuring improved financial performance through early detection of matters that may become audit qualifications if left unattended. A relationship based on mutual respect and cooperation, and a shared commitment to improving service delivery can only be of benefit to the DCS.

 

6.3        Organisational transformation

6.3.1     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 presented to the Committee, despite previous recommendations that it should be submitted. 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 turnaround strategy, as well as the above-mentioned new organisational structure should be presented to the Committee before the end of the 2012/13 financial year.

6.3.2     The DCS’ attempts at realising the rehabilitation and reintegration objectives contained in the White Paper are undermined by its continued administrative challenges, and the poor leadership referred to by the Auditor General. Leadership instability, lack of discipline and financial mismanagement seriously impede service delivery and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

 

6.4        Human Resource Management

6.4.1     The 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 DCS contribution to South Africa’s economic growth. Furthermore, the high vacancy levels reported in financial and related areas can only have a negative impact on compliance with relevant legislative and good governance requirements and will make it virtually impossible to address internal control deficiencies. It is recommended that the DCS should redouble its efforts to fill all vacancies especially those in its finance department, and should explore all avenues to attract, develop and retain graduates in professional fields.

6.4.2     The Committee had for the past three years advocated that the DCS should explore alternative recruitment strategies to the ones they have been using with little meaningful success. That these ideas were only being explored three years later was unacceptable. With regard to its inability to recruit professionals the Committee is convinced that the DCS poor reputation as an employer, is a major contributing factor to its inability to attract professionals. The Committee concerned that given their performance over the past three years, the current management is unable to instill confidence in potential employees that the working environment created by the DCS management is conducive to their development.

 

6.5        Security

6.5.1     Given the DCS poor track record with regard to procurement of security installations and services in particular, and given the concerns raised about the agreement entered into with the IDT with regard to the access control security turnstile contract, the DCS had committed itself to providing the full details of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that has been concluded between it and the IDT in relation to both the above-mentioned access control security turnstile-project, and fencing projects. As agreed the information will be considered when the Committee further interrogates the matter on 28 November 2012.

 

6.6        Rehabilitation

6.6.1     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 is unlikely that 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.

6.6.2     As recommended in previous reports on the DCS’ budget allocation, the budget must be aligned with its rehabilitation and reintegration objectives. The DCS should reconsider and increase its targets for developmental interventions and make the requisite allocations to its Care, 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.

6.6.3     The Committee has always supported that all offenders should work and/or attend school, and therefore welcomes the proposed inmate labour policy. The DCS should at an appropriate juncture, and before finalisation of the policy, consult the Committee in order to ensure that our concerns are adequately addressed.

 

6.7        Safe custody

6.7.1     The Committee is concerned that despite the DCS’ poor performance with regard to assaults in correctional centres, both in the 2011/12 financial year, and in the first quarter of the current financial year, the DCS reported in October 2012 that regional workshops were to take place to evaluate strategies in place. This gave little assurance of the DCS’ commitment to provide secure incarceration, despite the challenges posed by overcrowding. In addition to the reports already provided by the JICS, the DCS should henceforth submit quarterly reports on all investigations of assaults and unnatural deaths in which officials have been implicated. These should include updates on investigations, and whether matters were being pursued criminally.

 

6.8        Offender management

6.8.1     Given the Committee’s position that only those offenders that absolutely have to be incarcerated should receive custodial sentences it is our contention that offenders serving shorter sentences, presumably for lesser crimes, should receive alternative sentences. The DCS should make full use of legislative provisions that allow it to apply for such diversions.

6.8.2     The Committee welcomes the DCS’ dedicated efforts to more efficiently manage the remand population. In order to ensure our full understanding of what the new approach to remand detention entails, we propose that a detailed briefing on the draft White Paper on Remand Detention be prioritised.

 

6.9        Nutrition services

6.9.1     Given that the existing nutrition contract will expire at the end of January 2013, the Committee is most concerned about the late commissioning of the feasibility study on the appropriateness of outsourcing nutrition services. The Committee is adamant that whatever the outcome of the feasibility study, and the discussion mentioned under 5.6.1 above, the procurement of services should be in line with supply chain management prescripts.

 

7.         CONCLUSION

7.1        The Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services, having considered the DCS’ performance in the 2011/12 financial year, and the first quarter of the current financial year remains extremely disturbed about its financial management, service delivery performance, poor monitoring and control, severe staff shortages, and leadership challenges. The DCS’ apparent unwillingness and/or inability to address the shortcomings which have been raised before, and are merely reiterated in this report, is equally disturbing.

7.2        The recommendations made in this report are aimed at addressing these concerns, and echo earlier recommendations for the alignment of the DCS’ budget, and all its activities, with its rehabilitation mandate.

7.3        In the hope of elevating our concerns from mere observations and recommendations, to action we propose that a meeting between ourselves, the DCS’ senior management, and its Executive should be convened before the end of the current financial year. The meeting would provide an opportunity to frankly discuss the challenges outlined above, and more importantly the mechanisms whereby the DCS’ budget may be realigned so as to ensure that offender rehabilitation is prioritised.

Report to be considered