QUESTION NO: 11
Ms N D Ntwanambi (ANC-WC) to ask the Minister of Correctional Services:
Whether her department has established any plans to deal with the rising number of awaiting-trial detainees in correctional centres across the country; if not, (a) why not and (b) what challenges are currently being experienced with regard to awaiting-trial detainees;
if so, (i) what are the relevant details and (ii) what is the level of interaction between her department and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in this regard?
Yes, the rising numbers of Awaiting Trial Detainees in our centres have been as a result of lack of a common strategy for management of remand detention across the cluster. Cabinet then took a decision in 2006 to transfer the function of the management of remand detention to the Department of Correctional Services.
The department has dealt with the increasing numbers of Awaiting Trial Detainees in the Centres through the following interventions;
The White Paper on Remand Detention. Upon our appointment in 2009, an Interdepartmental Task Team was set up to investigate a new system for the management of Remand Detention. The Task Team comprised of representatives of the Department of Correctional Services, South African Police Services, State Security, Department of Health, National Prosecuting Authority and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
The team has developed a White Paper on the management of remand which has been noted by Cabinet.
The White Paper process has also resulted in proposed amendments to the Correctional Services Act. The Bill, currently in the Parliamentary process, proposes a new Remand Detention Branch to specifically focus on the management of remand. It also provides for distinct remand detention facilities to house detainees. Through this Bill; there shall also be provision to regulate the various responsibilities of the cluster departments that are involved in the management of remand.
Further, the DCS participates in the monthly deliberations of the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster, at the national, provincial and local level, again, paying particular attention to over-crowding by remand detainees.