Inkatha Freedom Party
One phenomenon which has become a perennial challenge in the Department of Correctional Services is overcrowding in our correctional centres. This has become so unbearable that the government was taken to court in the recent case of Sonke Gender Justice vs the SA government.
In this case, the court found ‘that the conditions such as accommodation facilities, cleanliness, health standards, infrastructure and provision of meals fell short of what was required in the Correctional Services Act.’ What is very disconcerting is that the conditions in Pollsmoor prison are similar to other big correctional centres, through the country.
The situation is so serious that the court ordered the DCS to submit monthly reports on progress made to remedy the situation. In fact, the situation leads to the conclusion that we are losing the war against crime and that our rehabilitation and reintegration endeavours are not bearing fruit.
Of course, society should not point a finger only to the effectiveness of the Correctional Services. Society should also focus on the courses of crime and make every effort to address them. One of the biggest drivers of crime is unemployment. Another is the abundance of drugs which are easily available especially to the youth and the failure of police and the courts to deal adequately with this scourge. We should also consider the implications of influx of millions of illegal immigrants who easily flock into this country through our porous borders. All these factors combined make the citizens of this county feel that they are not safe.
Judging by the allocation of budget the IFP is of the view that DCS has still not prioritised the programme of rehabilitation of sentenced offenders and their social reintergration. From the budget of R22,8 billion, the rehabilitation programme is allocated only R1,8 billion and social reintegration programme only received only R855,2 million. Compare this to the incarceration programme which is allocated a whopping R13,9 billion which is estimated to climb to R15,07 billion in 2018/19 and escalate to R45,3 billion in 2019/20.
This escalation which more than triples the current budget is frightening because it shows the extent to which crime is expected to rise in South Africa. The ideal situation would be to see incarceration budget decreasing proportionally to the increasing rehabilitation budget. This would be more in line with the change of approach in this department from prison to correctional centres.
The IFP supports this budget vote.
I thank you.