Parliamentary question: DCS: Prison staff attitude



Ms B C Blaai (Cope) to ask the Minister of Correctional Services:

Whether certain members of her departmental staff who were identified as frustrating the process of transformation were ordered to change their attitude; if not, why not; if so, (a) who were the individuals that were identified and (b) what was the outcome of the approach?



The National Commissioner has embarked on a programme of strengthening the capacity of the department to deliver better and faster services to internal and external beneficiaries. His focus has been essentially on encouraging and motivating an overwhelming majority of officials that are dedicated and hard working, to whom we owe the successes of the department thus far. These successes include continued reduction of escapes, assaults and unnatural deaths. In addition the fight against fraud and corruption continues to register the desired impact resulting in Department of Correctional Services being rated as the third best institution of government with its functioning minimum anti-corruption capacity that delivers 89% convictions. These need to be encouraged by among others the re-introduction of the Corrections Excellence Awards held on 04th March 2011 in Durban.

However; there is a small percentage of less than 7% of officials that are lethargic, negligent, ill-disciplined, lazy and corrupt for nearly 300 disciplinary cases instituted by the department on average per year. The department cannot allow these few to define the character of the institution, hence the tough talk by the National Commissioner; suspensions, disciplinary processes, warnings and dismissals effected by the management of the department.
(a)and (b)

We believe most of these wrong doers may have just erred and therefore the corrective disciplinary processes will get them to line, but those deliberate, habitual offenders that commit serious offences are being dealt with appropriately.

The National Commissioner, during his regional visits talking to management and staff, has been praising those doing well and warning those doing wrong things. As we expect positive changes from the majority, the 7% problematic portion of the staff complement, we believe naming and shaming should be limited only to those that have ultimately been dismissed. If required this information about dismissed officials can be packaged availed to members of the Portfolio Committee.