Vote 22: Correctional Services NATIONAL ASSEMBLY WEDNESDAY, 19 MAY MINI PLENARIES (VIRTUAL) 10:00 – 12:15

Hon. CT Msimang

Honourable Speaker,

The IFP supports the mission and vision of the Department of Correctional Services in South Africa, to contribute to a just, peaceful, and safer South Africa.

We acknowledge the efforts made by the Department to rehabilitate offenders. The Department in its 2019/2020 Annual Report indicates that it has a total of 15 formal schools and two Private Partnership Facilities. We also note the improvements in the pass rates in these schools, with six schools registering a 100% pass rate in 2019.  The overall pass rates for all schools also improved, from 68.9% to 80% between 2014 and 2019. Despite these developments, the efforts exerted by the Department on rehabilitation are far from being comprehensive. South Africa – with an inmate population of 154 449 in the 2019/20 financial year – cannot pursue an inclusive rehabilitation programme with only 17 educational facilities.

It is also the view of the IFP that a Medium-Term Expenditure of R2 175.5 billion on rehabilitation – relative to R14 961.1 billion spent on incarceration – proves less commitment to the former programme by the Department.

Our concerns on this issue continue to fall on deaf ears.

The Department cites overcrowding as the source of most of its challenges. Statistics from their report in 2020 found that with an inmate population of 154 437, correctional centres were 32.25% overcrowded. However, the causes of overcrowding at Correctional Facilities are multiple, including an ineffective parole system and long trial periods. The IFP also notes with concern the excessive overcrowding percentages in Johannesburg Medium A, Allendale, Queenstown, Polokwane, with overcrowding rates above 100%.

The IFP is of the view that addressing the challenge of overcrowding needs a multi-pronged approach, and improving our justice system from the time a person is arrested, until they serve their sentence, could alleviate part of the problem. Tackling economic challenges that sometimes lead people into crime is equally vital.

The IFP is also concerned with corruption at different levels within the Department. SAPS Crime Intelligence have in the past arrested government officials from the Department of Correctional Services.  This is rather ironic, as the same officials that pledged their allegiance to promoting a just society and are the custodians of law and order, have been found to be working against their own mandate.

Corruption is unacceptable and we expect the Department of Correctional Services to lead by example.

The IFP supports the reduction of the Department’s baseline by R11 billion – the cuts will result in the reduction of personnel – but mostly of non-essential staff and those who will be lost through natural attrition.

The IFP supports the Budget Vote

I thank you.