Source: The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Title: SA: Radebe: Address by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, at the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster briefing, Cape Town
The task of fighting crime requires a united South Africa. Public safety does not only benefit individuals but also must create a conducive environment within which economic growth and enjoyment of human rights must find full expression. As a Cluster we have witnessed the benefits of unity of purpose in the fight against crime. Together we successfully delivered Local government elections free of violent incidents and in the process contributed towards strengthening our democracy. As I will reflect further on, we continue to see significant gains and steady progress in our efforts to reduce the levels of violent crime and to combat corruption. All these measures and interventions are intended to ensure that All people in South Africa are and feel safe (Cluster’s Outcome3).
We remain committed to the Delivery Agreement signed with the President to ensure a safe, stable and democratic South Africa, which is subject to the constitution and the rule of law. During the period under review (April –August 2011) we have made significant progress to realise specific measures to fight crime, as outlined in the cluster’s delivery agreement.
The extent of the progress made is reflected in the findings of the survey conducted in the past three quarters by the Government Communications Information Services (GCIS). The survey indicates that our endeavour to fight crime is having a significant impact in the lived reality of South Africans. There is growing indication that South Africans are increasingly feeling safe. Evidently, the number of respondents who see crime as a major challenge is gradually going down. Currently, the number of respondents who views crime as a major challenge in our country has gone down from 33% to 25%.
Output 1: Reduced overall levels of serious crime, in particular, contact and trio crimes
Based on the previous Crime Statistics as released in September last year, government is making considerable progress in dealing with crime, particularly in relation contact crimes including trio crimes. We have noted a decrease in murder as well as various other categories; and this was to a large extent achieved through coordinated cluster efforts, including improving the detection and conviction rates. We also need to emphasize that our success in dealing with crime is also premised in line with a community-policing approach. To this end; we want to commend millions of law-abiding South Africans who continue to partner with government.
The fight against crime is stymied by the recent upsurge in police killings which stood at 56 during the period under review. On the 8th of July the Minister of Police convened a Summit Against Attacks on and Killings of Police Officers with the objective of seeking solutions from all sectors of our society. A Multi-Disciplinary Committee has since been formed to effectively manage investigations on killings of the police, and counselling of their families.
Output 2: Effective and integrated Criminal Justice System (CJS)
We continue to implement the recommendations of the Criminal Justice System Review, which among others, include the modernisation of our systems.
Audio Visual Remand System
The roll out of the Remand Video System in the Criminal Justice System, which allows for remand court proceedings to be conducted via video linkage, eliminates the unnecessary transportation of Remand Detainees to and from court and the risks associated with that process. The business benefit of utilizing such technology has been reflected in the reduction of case delays and detentions to minimum periods. The national implementation of the first phase of the project concentrated on the high volume Correctional Centres and associated courts. So far, 47 courts and 22 Correctional Centres have been equipped with the Video Remand System. Of the 47 courts, 17 are already operational. It is envisaged that the rest of the courts (27) will be operational by the end of September 2011. Of the 22 Correctional Centres 10 are operational. The use of technology in this area proved to be a modernisation aspect of immense benefit to the criminal justice system.
Correctional Matters Amendment Act
In May of 2011 President Jacob Zuma signed into law the Correctional Matters Amendment Bill following approval by both houses of Parliament.
The Correctional Matters Amendment Act came into effect on the 1st of September of 2011 will enhance the effectiveness and integration of the country’s criminal justice system with a revised Medical Parole Policy, New Management System for Remand Detainees and Overall Enhancement of the Parole System.
Parole Management and Electronic Monitoring
The Department of Correctional Services recently announced plans to conduct a pilot program by December of 2011 for the use of electronic monitoring of parolees and in future certain categories of sentenced offenders and remand detainees.
The use of electronic monitoring will significantly enhance monitoring capacity of the Department of Correctional Services in respect of parolees with regard to their movements as well as their adherence to conditions of parole. This will lead to the diversion of those convicted of minor offences away from custodial sentences to perform community service while the department is able to account for their geographical location.
In line with the Constitutional Court ruling in van Vuuren v The Minister of Correctional Services, the Minister of Correctional Services has considered 296 out of 386 cases of inmates who had been sentenced to life imprisonment before 01 March 1994. Out of these 40 inmates have been granted full parole, 72 have been granted day parole and 182 did not qualify for placement on parole.
All those lifers who have been granted parole will by December 2011 form part of the pilot program on electronic tagging and monitoring.
Introduction of New Generation Mother and Child Facilities
The Department of Correctional Services is in the process of relocating women offenders who are serving time with their babies in correctional centres into new-generation Mother and Child facilities where the environment will be most conducive for the child's development. We have recently opened such facilities in Cape Town and Durban. A rollout of these facilities to other centres will soon take place.
Countrywide there are 56 regional backlog courts and 22 district courts. The target in relation to the backlog cases is to reduce the number of long outstanding cases on the court rolls. There was a marked decrease in the number of outstanding cases from 218 660 to 197 391 (9.7%) during March and June 2011. This has now further decreased between June and July 2011, from 197 391 to 192 487 (a reduction of 4905 cases in that period.)
National Register for Sex Offenders
We have successfully implemented Phase 1 of the National Register of Sex Offenders. This Register is intended to protect children and the mentally disabled persons from those persons who have been convicted of sexual offences. All court orders that relate to convictions of this crime under the new Sexual Offences Act, continue to be captured in the Register. We have noted an increase in the number of sex offenders registered from 1202 to 1612 during the period under review (April to August).
Output 3: Corruption within the JCPS Cluster combated to ensure its effectiveness and its ability to serve as deterrent against crime
The Cluster has intensified its efforts to root out corruption within its own Departments, as a result a total of 362 cases were investigated and 291 arrests were made (167 public officials and 124 members of the public). All of these officials have appeared in court and their cases have resulted in 155 convictions thus far.
Output 4: Perception on the management of crime among the population improved
Crime Victim Satisfaction Survey
The Crime Victim Satisfaction Survey has been undertaken and a report on this survey is undergoing internal consultation amongst the Cluster Departments. The survey will give us reliable feedback and help us to consolidate our efforts to improve our services.
Roll out of Victim Support Rooms
We continue to roll out the Victim Support Rooms (VSRs) in an effort to show empathy to victims of violent crime, especially in cases of sexual offences, child abuse and domestic violence. For the period under review, we have increased the number of VSRs from 806 to 900 across the country. These facilities compliment the Thuthuzela Care Centres and are meant for interviews, statement-taking and other consultations. There are currently 27 fully operational Thuthuzela Care Centres in the country and 9 more are being established this year.
Output 5: Levels of corruption reduced thus improving investor perception, trust and willingness to invest in South Africa
Government has noted the concerns of South Africans regarding the levels of corruption in our country, as highlighted by the GCIS research findings. We recognise that corruption holds the potential to erode all the gains made in our hard earned democracy and commit to find sustainable solutions quell these acts of criminality.
The Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) has made significant progress in fighting corruption. Actual joint operations have commenced. In this regard 116 accused persons are appearing in court relating to 42 cases with R579 million assets restrained in total. Of the 116 accused only 19 have assets more than R5m, with restraints in place.
During the last financial year, the President issued no less than 18 Proclamations authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to conduct investigations – the most ever in the history of the SIU. Most of these focussed on procurement related irregularities as it is a major priority for government to deal with corruption in procurement, and to ensure better value for money. For the first time, these investigations included two of the Metropolitan Municipalities (Tshwane and Ekurhuleni) as well as the SABC.
Some of the other key investigations include: the procurement of accommodation by the national Department of Public Works, a number of municipalities in the Western Cape, the procurement department of SAPS, the National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, the broadening of the investigation into contracts for building low-cost housing, and the on-going investigations into the irregularities in the social grant system.
Recently, significant progress has been made with the arrest of two former senior managers of the City of Ekurhuleni and a businessman for alleged tender fraud in relation to a R32 million IT tender.
Output 6: South Africa’s borders effectively safeguarded and secured
The return of SANDF to the borders will be implemented in a five-phase approach over the next four years with a total of twenty-two (22) companies. The Defence Force is currently covering 1 500 kilometres of the border. At the end of the full deployment, it is estimated that the SANDF would cover 4 471 kilometres of land border, 2 700 kilometres of maritime border and 7 660 kilometres of air border.
South Africa is reaping the benefits of our deployment. Our borders are more secure, cross-border crime has dropped, syndicate crime has been dealt a blow and according to reports our communities and the farmers feel safer.
Some of the items seized at our ports of entry include the following: Hand weapons confiscated (17); Dagga (1231.40 kg); Copper (653kg); Cattle recovered (38); Illegal foreigners apprehended (20825); Stolen vehicle recovered (27); Criminals arrested (451); Contrabands confiscated (R2 627,119); Tik 138 units.
Output 7: Integrity of Identity and Status of Citizens and Residents secured.
With a view to ensuring delivery on this output, the Department of Home Affairs aims to ensure that birth is the only entry point for South Africans to the National Population Register. A credible and accurate National Population Register not only ensures that government knows exactly who in the country is a South African citizen and who is a foreign national, but enables government to plan timeously to meet the needs of the country’s citizens since it has accurate data at its disposal.
In terms of the registration of babies, in the quarter April – July 2011, the total number of births registered was 133,262, which is 12% of estimated births of 1,1million projected by the Department in the financial year 2011/12.
Another core objective of the National Population Registration Campaign is in the issuance of IDs to 16 year olds. In this regard, the Department of Home Affairs has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Education to enable it to visit secondary schools to receive applications from those who are 16 years old. The Department has also prioritised the issuance of IDs to those who are in matric.
The Department has also endeavoured to ensure that immigration is managed effectively and securely in the national interest, including economic, social and cultural development. In this regard, the Department aims to realise a positive skills migration trend of around 50 000 migrants annually. In the quarter April – June 2011, a total of 1234 scarce skills permits were issued.
The Cluster has also prioritised the finalisation of applications for work, business and corporate permits. To this end, a total of 7 054 permits were issued in the quarter April – June 2011. This is part of attracting scarce skills into the country and boosting the economy which will help with job creation.
Output 8: Integration of ICT Systems and Development of a Cyber-Security Policy
A draft cyber security policy has been completed. This policy will be presented to Cabinet during the course of this financial year. Parallel to this, we will continue to prioritise crimes committed through Internet fraud, including pornography and human trafficking as well as the hacking of business websites.
Roll Out of Automated Fingerprint and Identification System (AFIS) at Correctional Facilities
The Department of Correctional Services has now initiated the roll out of the Automated Fingerprint and Identification System (AFIS) in correctional centres around the country.
We have made significant progress in this area in that we have installed facilities for capturing and storage of fingerprint data at 145 sites. The integration of this system into the Police, Home Affairs and the Department of Social Development systems is expected to be completed by the end of this quarter.
The JCPS will continue to work with all its strategic partners and the South African community at large, in collaborative efforts aimed at turning the tide in the fight against crime and corruption in order to ensure that ‘All people in South are and feel safe’.
We wish to continue on this trajectory. The gains we have made must render us neither complacent nor oblivious of the challenges that still lie ahead. The challenges are not insurmountable. We will accelerate delivery in order to realize a deserved better life for all.