Parliamentary question: Correctional Services: overcrowding


Mr J Selfe (DA) to ask the Minister of Correctional Services:
(1) Whether the report for the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT) has been finalised; if not, (a) why not and (b) when will this report be finalised; if so, (i) when will this report be made available and (ii) what are the further relevant details;

(2) (a) why were the Guidelines and Measures for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Africa signed in 2003, (b) how different is this to UNCAT and (c) what measures are being implemented to give effect to both agreements
(3) whether any oversight body exists to monitor conditions such as a right to (a) food, (b) water, (c) clothing, (d) health care, (e) minimum of space, (f) hygiene, (g) privacy and (h) security; if not, why not, in each case; if so, what have the findings been in terms of the abovementioned conditions, in each case?

(1) The Finalisation of the report is managed by Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and this question should therefore be directed to DIRCO.
(2) It is proposed that this question be referred to Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
(3) According to Section 85 of the Correctional Services Act, 1998 (Act no 111 of 1998) the objective of the Judicial Inspectorate is to facilitate the inspection of correctional centres in order that the Inspecting Judge may report on the treatment of inmates and on conditions in correctional centres. According to the 2010/11 Annual Report of the Judicial Inspectorate, a total of 381 924 complaints from inmates have been dealt with. In this Annual Report the following number of complaints are specifically referred to as per the indicated area (including findings where applicable):
(a) Food: 13 719;
(b) Water: Periodic unavailability of fresh water at Makhado, Kutama Sinthumule and Thohoyandou were resolved at the first two centres and alleviated at Thohoyandou;
(c) Clothing: No specific reference;
(d) Health care: Complaints regarding health care increased by 255%, from 11 227 during 2007 to 39 868 during 2010/11.
(e) Minimum of space: On 31 March 2011 a total number of 18 correctional centres were critically overcrowded by 200% or more. Since 2009/10, 8 of these 18 centres have fallen below the 200% mark, while a number of others have significantly reduced their levels.

Although the problem of overcrowding has not been resolved, it is nevertheless a significant improvement from 2002 when 56 centres exceeded the 200% mark, and 2005, when 47 centres exceeded this level.
(f) Hygiene: No specific reference;
(g) Privacy: No specific reference;
(h) Security; no specific reference.