Correctional Services Sets New Targets

Pretoria - Correctional Services National Commissioner Tom Moyane presented the department's five-year strategic plan, which provides bold and clear performance targets, to the Portfolio Committee.

Presenting the plan in Cape Town on Tuesday, Moyane said his department remained focused on turning around a number of problematic areas, including jacking up the department's information technology systems and improving integration with the broader criminal justice system.

In his presentation, the commissioner promised to make significant improvements in strengthening internal controls and improve rates of conviction of officials charged with fraud, corruption and serious maladministration, from the already high level of 84 percent to 92 percent by 2015/16.

Moyane said to strengthen internal controls, no major expenditure will be undertaken on any project without a proper business case to avoid historical pitfalls of hasty decisions to expend significant funds on poorly thought through projects.

For the bid adjudication process of the planned construction of public-private partnership (PPP) correctional centres, the department has established an interdepartmental bid evaluation committee that comprises National Treasury, Home Affairs, Public Works, International Relations and Cooperation and the Department of Correctional Services.

The committee is tasked with ensuring appropriate and unbiased determination of the best bid when it concludes its work by October 2011.

The department has also committed to ensure that over 16 500 additional bed spaces are delivered within the next five years, with 12 000 coming from four PPP correctional centres and several smaller projects of revamping the existing old facilities, planned to be finalised within five years.

The department will also intensify benchmarking and building of good practice norms.

Other targets outlined by the National Commissioner include to further reduce escapes by 25 percent from the already low escape rate of about 60 inmates from about 167 000 incarcerated people in South Africa, which represents (0.036 percent escape rate currently).

The commissioner also outlined plans to reduce incidents of assaults within the correctional centres by a further 35 percent from the current base of 4 100 cases and reducing overcrowding to 28 percent and improve eligible offenders' participation in corrections programmes from 53 percent to 93 percent, from about 49 000 to 71 000.

This also includes increasing access to work opportunities for eligible 91 000 offenders from 41 percent to 50 percent and increasing access to anti-retroviral therapy to deserving inmates with less than 350 CD4 count, from the current rate of 92 percent to 96 percent.

The department has been allocated just over R16.5 billion for the next financial year starting on 1 April 2011, which is expected to increase to R18.8 billion by 2013/14 financial year.

For infrastructure development over the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF), the department will spend R7.8 billion for all its needs, which include refurbishing and revamping the existing facilities that are not rehabilitation friendly, to the allocations made to cover the repayments for the planned four PPP correctional centres. - BuaNews