The President of the Republic of South Africa has on 10 February 2011 delivered the State of the Nation address which touched on some of the priorities of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster.
Cluster Mandate: The JCPS Cluster has a responsibility to ensure that all the people of South Africa are and feel safe.
Reduction of serious crimes: The highest number of cases comprising business robbery counts was finalised in the North Gauteng and Free State Divisions of our High Courts. The KwaZulu-Natal and two Gauteng Divisions disposed of the most vehicle robbery cases.
Integrated approach to deal with crime: The Cluster has adopted an integrated and coordinated, holistic approach in the fight against crime, and will continue to improve prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution, through integrated policies and frameworks and increased capacity.
Various Protocols have received attention in terms of the implementation of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) Seven Point Plan to ensure the effectiveness of the CJS, such as Court Screening Protocol and a Legal Aid Court Protocol to improve coordination of work between the NAtional Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Legal Aid representatives. Court Screening has been developed to ensure case readiness and improve case scheduling. This is currently being piloted in the Western Cape in preparation for the national implementation that will commence in the next financial year.Better screening processes country-wide have been implemented leading to less cases being placed unnecessarily on the court rolls.The number of withdrawals has also decreased by 8.9% until September 2010.
A draft Social Crime Prevention Strategy is being finalised. It is aimed at bringing together concerted social crime prevention initiatives and creating a dedicated and integrated crime prevention capacity, whilst maximising the participation of communities and civil society organisations and raising the safety of the community as a whole, and thus improve the quality of life and the satisfaction of human rights. A draft Restorative Justice Strategy was completed and will be tabled before Cabinet soon.
The National Policy Framework (NPF) regarding Diversions was finalised in May 2010.The Policy Framework supports the Child Justice Act that was implemented in April 2010 and deals with Regulations and National Directives by the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) as well as National Instructions by the South African Police Service (SAPS) on how to deal with children in conflict with the law. In line with the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007, a draft Sexual Offences NPF has been developed to improve and coordinate the criminal justice system responses to sexual offending, improve how cases are being dealt with at court level; and regulate the manner in which sexual offences and related matters must be dealt with in a coordinated and sensitive manner, with the emphasis on a multi-disciplinary approach. The NPF will be tabled in Parliament before the end of the financial year. As at December 2010, 978 offender names have been registered in the Sexual Offences Register.
Progress has been made and work related to the Community Safety Forum Policy will be finalised by the JCPS Cluster by March 2011.
In line with the Cluster’s zero tolerance approach to crime, in 2011 the JCPS Cluster has decided to also focus specifically on tackling crime relating to inner city decay issues such as prostitution, drug dealing and infractions of municipal by-laws.
The JCPS Cluster will also be focusing on creating awareness in especially rural communities on issues that relate to crimes committed under the guise of customary practices. Government will continue to respect constitutionally guaranteed right of communities to exercise cultural practices of their choice. We will however not tolerate any criminal act of kidnapping and rape inflicted on young and defenceless girls, disguised as the cultural practice of Ukuthwala. We will continue to work together with traditional leadership in this regard.
Prevention Strategies: Include increased visible policing and patrols in identified hotspots and the reduction of illegal firearms and drugs and alcohol abuse.
The Cluster has established an Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT), which is working in collaboration with other government institutions (i.e. Governance and Administration Cluster, National Treasury, Department of Public Service and Administration)to fight corruption.The Special Anti-Corruption Unit established in the Department of Public Service and Administration to handle cases involving public servants will lead to an improved processing of such cases within the cluster and government as a whole.
In terms of the Delivery Agreement a comprehensive communication strategy must be developed to ensure that communication plays an important role in the fight against crime and corruption. A draft strategy has been developed and will be finalised this year. The strategy will amongst others ensure information flow between the cluster, stakeholders and communities and directs our communication actions towards the outcome.
Strengthening Investigative Systems: President Jacob Zuma emphasised the need to improve the capacity and effectiveness of the detective services, forensic analysts and crime intelligence. This will assist in dealing with violent crimes.
The Department of Correctional Services intends to fill critical specialist positions as well as avail learnership opportunities to many young university graduates. Presently 252 vacancies have been filled; 496 asset management interns have been appointed; as well as 1 032 learnership candidates.
Crime Statistics: The crime statistics released recently show a clear decrease in most crime levels, particularly trio and contact crimes. According to the Crime Statistics in the period between 2003/04 and 2009/10, murder declined by 7,2% while assault cases show a decline of 20%.
Crimes against Women and Children: The Cluster will also prioritise crimes against women and children and provide support through Thuthuzela Care Centres. The Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Act, 2007 (Act 32 of 2007) in itself created approximately seventy new cases, all of which are being investigated by established SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units (FCS Units). This commitment has translated into tangible successes as there was an overall decrease in sexual offences of 4,4% at the end of March 2010.
Dealing with corruption in the public service: Improved investigation systems will also ensure that government deal decisively with corruption. A Special Anti-Corruption Unit, which is located in the Department of Public Service and Administration, has been established to deal with corruption in the public services. 44 million has been recovered from public servants who are illegally benefiting from housing subsidies and the cleaning of the social grants system is continuing.
The Multi-Agency Working Group on procurement led by National Treasury, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the Financial Intelligence Centre’s review of the entire state procurement system will certainly help in minimising if not in the prevention of corrupt practices involving state procurement.
Managing case backlogs: Increased coordination and the introduction of various case management programmes played a vital role in ameliorating the challenge of case backlogs at the District and regional levels.
Enhancing the independence of the Judiciary: The Cluster is moving towards judicial administration autonomy with a view to further enhance the independence of the judiciary and give effect to the separation of powers entrenched in the Constitution.
Protecting the identity of citizens: Good progress is being made to protect the identity of citizens and secure the status of the residents. The Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Bill and Citizenship Amendment Bill were tabled in Parliament in September 2010. These amendments have been assented to and will be implemented in the first half of 2011, after regulations have been gazetted.
In addition, by October 2010 over 120 440 applications for the late registration of birth were processed against 43 744 for the same period in 2009. Late registration of births will cease at the end of March 2011.
The integration of third party data into the Movement Control System (MCS) risk engine from amongst others SAPS Crime Intelligence, SARS and Interpol will help in the detection of illegally acquired travel documents, wanted persons and those visitors who remain in the country illegally. Police and the Department of Home Affairs Immigration officials will therefore be capacitated to take action against those who have breached the country’s Immigration Law.
The issue of families across borders and dual citizenship are specific areas of focus for the Department of Home Affairs.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will also conduct an air border safeguarding operation during the period 15 – 23 February in the northern parts of the Limpopo province to enhance and enforce the authority of the state in the South African airspace. All flights operating within the restricted space have to apply for flight authorization with the South African Air Force. Aircraft entering this promulgated airspace without a clearance or observed deviating from the filed flight may be subject to interception and prosecution. The operation will assist in strengthening our capacity to prevent and help to detect criminal activities committed using aircraft.
Improved Technology and Modernisation: Technology and modernisation programmes are continuing within the Cluster, including a focus on the alignment and integration of systems where appropriate.The Cluster is further focussing on the development of a cyber-security policy and implementation plan to combat cyber-crime activities as well as the integration of information and communications technology (ICT) systems within the JCPS cluster for improved service delivery.
A particular area that has been singled out for focused attention is the operation and efficiency of Courts at all levels. The Gauteng province will be prioritised.
There will be an Indaba between the Economic, JCPS, Governance and Administration Clusters and civil society to review and evaluate the effectiveness of diversion programmes. The Indaba will also address prejudice suffered by rehabilitated offenders who are released from correctional facilities. This is aimed at assisting rehabilitated offenders to access job opportunities and financial support for their businesses.
In addition to collaboration between the JCPS Cluster Departments, we will maximise the utilisation of the collective capacity within its institutions.
Monitoring and reporting requirements, establishment of proper baselines and the automation of monitoring systems will continue during 2011.
Issued by: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
20 Feb 2011