Department of Welfare

Your letter dated 31 July 1998, Reference 8/6/Straf/1 (WA), is acknowledged with thanks.

The Department of Welfare has studied the proposed bill and welcomes the opportunity to comment on it, and sees this as a milestone for the Criminal Justice System as a collective. The following comments are offered:-

This Bill addresses some of the serious interdependencies of organised crime, and its relationship with gang activities. Government, as part of its commitment to ensuring safe and secure living for all its inhabitants, will use this bill as a vehicle to achieve that.

Section 32: Welfare services are often required for persons in the witness protection programme. Here we rely on the assistance of provincial departments of welfare, as well as appropriate NGOs. More intensive interventions are required when a child or young person enters the witness protection programme. More often than not these target groups/individuals are also victims who need support and empowerment.

Chapter 4: The composition of the Criminal Assets Recovery Fund poses some interesting options. Section 36 (c) (i)-(iii) mentions assistance to victims of organised crime and criminal gang activity The victim centred approach is also in line with the paradigm principles of the National Crime Prevention Strategy.

The Minister, in appointing the members of the board, should give due consideration to appointing at least one member from the welfare community, known to be a subject matter expert on victim work, and such person to link the Victim Empowerment Programme initiatives on an enterprise level. Additionally, the Department of Welfare has appropriate expertise available in its NGO Directorate which can stand the proposed board in good stead.

Consideration should be given to redistributing some of the proceeds of organised crime to those developmental welfare services aimed at empowering previously disadvantaged communities, social prevention of crime and improvement of social conditions in crime ridden areas.

DATE: 14/09/98