19 February 2012
During the delivery of the 2012 State of Nation Address, the President recommitted us all to building a South Africa which truly belongs to all who live in it and to create a conducive environment, free of crime and corruption for all to enjoy the hard earned freedoms and rights, enshrined in our Constitution. We are therefore mandated, as the JCPS Cluster, to deliver on our agreed commitment to ensure that all people in South Africa are and feel safe (Outcome 3).
Following our commitment to the President through the Delivery Agreement we developed a number of strategic and tactical interventions aimed at improving the state of public safety in our country.
The Agreement constitutes government’s programme of action in making South Africa safe for all citizens and visitors, attractive to investors fighting crime and corruption and contributes to the creation of an environment conducive for building stable families and communities.
The overall targets require that we change the way we approach the fight against crime and corruption through strong partnerships while ensuring that the Criminal Justice System is people-centred and victim friendly. Based on this approach, we are now beginning to see the result of our consistent effort to fight crime and corruption. In addition, those whom we serve are regaining their trust the in criminal justice system.
Output 1: Reduce overall levels of serious crimes and in particular contact crime
Over the past three years, government put in place various plans aimed at eradicating crime. The September 2011 national crime statistics, supported by various business industry statistics indicate a steady decline in various categories of crime.
Our performance reflects that between 2009/10 and 2010/11 financial years, overall serious crime levels decreased by 5%. For the first time in eight years the murder rate dropped by 6.5%, attempted murder decreased by 12.2%, sexual offences have also reflected a decrease of 4.4%. The decreases were achieved through various interventions, including proper planning, police visibility and coordination with other security agencies.
Whilst we note a decrease in sexual offences, we remain seriously concerned about the increase in rape cases. In an effort to address this sensitive matter, we have begun to reintroduce the South African Police Service (SAPS) Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units with a special focus on crimes that are prevalent amongst vulnerable groups. We have also attended to improving infrastructure such as victim friendly rooms at police stations, Thuthuzela care centres, domestic violence shelters and places of safety throughout the country. All of these are done in an effort to ensure the centrality of the victim, particularly a vulnerable victim. In addition, the services that are rendered in these facilities are better coordinated and undertaken by officials who receive on-going and specialised training. Our efforts in this regard have been felt on the ground even though there is a very long road that lies ahead. The report on Victim Empowerment Survey undertaken by Statistic South Africa, published in November 2011 indicates that the victims of crime are beginning to feel the impact of the interventions of government in the fight against crime and the protection of the victims.
We have noted the recent increase in ATM bombings, and these can mainly be associated with the heat that the criminals are feeling in bank robberies as well as cash-in-transit-heists. Intensive detective and intelligence work, supported by various agencies, is currently underway to hunt, arrest and prosecute those responsible for those crimes.
In fighting organised crime vigorously, the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations (the Hawks) identified, tracked and arrested 50 of the country’s most wanted criminals. In recent weeks, the unit has arrested over 20 alleged rhino poachers.
Fundamental in the reduction of crime is the spirit of partnership, which speaks to our community-participation philosophy. More and more South Africans are joining the fight against crime and government calls on the nation to play its part in anti-crime campaigns. Furthermore, on-going training, equitable distribution of policing resources, creation of a professional police service that continues to wage war on criminals will be consolidated during the course of this calendar year and the next financial year.
While we are encouraged by the declining trends, we remain concerned about the levels of crime, particularly crimes against women, children and the elderly. Once again, we want to reiterate our firm commitment that we shall spare neither strength nor effort in ensuring that all in South Africa are and feel safe.
Output 2: An effective Criminal Justice System (CJS)
The strengthening of partnerships within the Criminal Justice System will remain a priority this year. This will include not only communities but a variety of role-players within government, business, interest groups, media, municipalities, religious and youth formations as well as international law enforcement agencies.
As part of improving service delivery, we are in the process of reviewing our 10111 operations in order to ensure the efficiency of the system. This may include the revised deployment of resources in order to make the system more effective.
High-tech equipment, vehicles and other tools procured during the 2010 FIFA World Cup continue to be used to safeguard all people within the country.
On average 1687 courts function daily and for 2011 on a quarter-to-quarter basis they have continued to improve the case finalisation rate, although we are still slightly below the target we set for ourselves in this regard. For the period April to December 2012, we finalised 327818 cases with an impressive conviction rate. The High courts had a conviction rate on average of 84,4% (752 cases); Regional Courts 74,2% (21 886 cases) and district courts 90,5% (185884 cases). A focus area for 2012 will be increased attention to increase the case finalisation rate at all court levels in conjunction with all role players.
The country-wide situation regarding the outstanding and backlog cases per court level has continued to improve. As at the end of December 2011, we had succeeded in reducing the backlog numbers to the lowest number of backlog cases 32902 (15.9%) than in the past five years. During the period April 2011 to December 2011, the backlog courts removed 16436 cases from the court rolls. With 77 additional backlog courts functioning at present (55 regional and 22 district courts), the Case Backlog Reduction intervention is yielding results. Between April 2009 and December 2011, a total of 40 298 were removed from the court rolls as a result of the additional regional and district backlog criminal courts. A total of 134 new prosecutors who graduated from the Justice College this past Friday will be deployed all over the country in order to further increase capacity around our courts. The impact will be the speedy finalisation of increased number of cases which has been a challenge in giving effect to provide access to justice.
In addition and in order to better provide for the efficient judicial system as well as to minimise the delays in finalising cases on the court rolls, The Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) has initiated Case Flow Management and a process to set uniform norms and standards for the judiciary. Engagements are underway between the Chief Justice and the Heads of Court to ensure that norms and standards are used throughout the country in driving and improving performance in courts. This is consistent with tenets of the Constitution with regard to speedy justice. Further measures now in place to assist with case flow management include the following:
A High Court Case Flow Management (CFM) structure is now in place, chaired by Judge President Mthiyane; whilst for the lower courts a Lower Courts National Integrated CFM Committee (NICFM) led by the Regional Court President Ms Monaledi is in place.
Provincial Integrated CFM forums are also in place, with most of the forums led by either the Judge Presidents of the provinces or the Regional Court Presidents.
A CFM Workshop is planned with all lower court NICFM stakeholders for 1 March 2012 to ensure synergy between regional and national case flow management structures for effective coordination of CFM.
With a view to strengthen the general policy on parole and correctional supervision the Correctional Matters Amendment Act provides for a new medical parole policy and correctional supervision. It lays the legislative basis for management of remand detainees and regulates detention in police cells by stipulating that no inmate may be detained in police cells for a period exceeding seven days.
A newly established Medical Parole Advisory Board – with the key mandate being to look into all seriously and terminally ill inmates who have submitted reports requesting release on medical grounds – has been appointed with effect from 1 March 2012. This Board will be chaired by Dr Victor Ramathesele with Dr Angelique Coetzee as Vice-Chairperson and a list of members sitting on the board is available from the Department of Correctional Services on request. To deal with overcrowding at correctional facilities and to minimise the possibility of violation of parole conditions, a pilot project on the electronic monitoring of parolees and probationers was implemented on 14 February 2012. The pilot involves 150 parolees including 70 convicts on life sentences who are on parole. This will ensure that certain categories of offenders serve their sentences in the community and thereby contribute to the alleviation of overcrowding in correctional facilities.
The electronic monitoring of parolees and probationers will alleviate challenges of parolees absconding from the system of community corrections while also reducing the risk of recidivism. We hope that the strengthening of community corrections will encourage the Judiciary to explore alternative sentencing options making incarceration a last resort.
The Department of Correctional Services will soon launch the inaugural Government-sponsored Halfway House initiative. This is aimed at enabling social reintegration for parolees and ultimately reduces the chances of re-offending.
Halfway houses will enable Correctional Services to monitor parolees without verifiable residential addresses as part of their parole conditions.
The Halfway House initiative will be administered by civil society under the supervision of the Department and will allow parolees to seek employment, receive proper orientation in the community and pursue further education and training opportunities in preparation for their eventual full reintegration back into society.
Output 3: Corruption within the JCPS cluster combated to enhance its effectiveness and its ability to serve as a deterrent against crime
The Cluster is intolerant of any illegality within its ranks which undermine efforts to render quality services to communities. This includes corruption, theft of equipment, interference with evidence intended for trial purposes as well as collusion with criminals. The Cluster has compiled a report with a view to understand the nature and extent of illegality within its ranks and will be developing proper targets on this based on this report.
In the last year, 192 officials in the JCPS cluster were criminally charged with corruption; 86 of them were convicted.296 of them were put through departmental disciplinary processes for misconduct.
The Protection of State Information Bill, once passed into law, will, amongst others, regulate the manner in which the state information is protected, and promote transparency and accountability in governance while recognising that state information may be protected from disclosure in order to safeguard the national interest of the Republic. This Bill will provide for a thorough and methodological approach to the determination of which state information may be protected. In addition, it will criminalise espionage and activities hostile to the Republic and provide for certain other offences and penalties.
It is important to note that the officials who manipulate the classification of state information to hide corrupt activities will themselves be guilty of a criminal offence and will be dealt with harshly in terms of this proposed legislation.
Output 4: Perceptions of crime among the population managed and improved
The recent Victims of Crime Survey (2011) indicate that victims of crime are beginning to see results in the fight against crime and the improvement in the treatment of victims. Among other things, the survey found that over 40% of households felt that the level of both violent and non-violent crime had decreased in their area of residence during the period 2008 to 2010.Furthermore, of those surveyed, about 60% of households were satisfied with the way police and courts are doing their work.
The 2011 survey also revealed that 32,1% of households recorded that levels of crime had increased, compared to 2007 where 57,1% felt that crime had increased. With regard to personal safety, 88,2% and 27% felt safe walking in the areas during the day and at night respectively, compared to 2007 when the response was 76% and 23% respectively. Further Victim Surveys will continue on an annual basis under the auspices of Statistics South Africa to monitor perceptions of the public and victims of crime. The results of these surveys will help government to develop targeted interventions in line with what the people in South Africa feel are areas of serious concerns supported by the trends.
Output 5: Levels of corruption reduced improving investor perception, trust and willingness to invest in South Africa
Cabinet has approved additional funding of R150 million from the Criminal Assets Recovery Account (CARA) for the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) which comprises the Hawks, the Special Investigating Unit and the National Prosecuting Authority (both prosecutions and asset forfeiture). These resources are aimed strengthening the capacity of these law enforcement agencies in our resolve to fight corruption.
As you are aware, we have set ourselves a target of arresting and prosecuting the100 persons suspected of serious corruption who have more than R5 million in illicit assets by April 2014.
Achievements against the target:
In the first 18 months of improving coordination of the law enforcement agencies which is led through the Anti-Corruption Task Team, significant progress has been made towards reaching our target. However, much more needs to be done.
For the period between April and December 2011 we can report as follows:
- 56 persons are now being investigated (32 this year)
- 26 of them have been arrested and appeared in court, (12 this year)
- 19 of them have had their assets frozen
- The value of assets frozen is R579 million
The current priority case investigations involve a total of 157 suspect persons.
Through concerted effort and coordination within our cluster, the impact of our work is beginning to be felt. This, we believe, will have a deterrent effect on potential offenders.
Output 6: Effective and integrated border management
Government decided to strengthen borderline security by deploying the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) working in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies. Effective border management is part of the government crime prevention strategy, which assists to deal with cross-border crime syndicates and curb poaching.
The SANDF deployment of forces continues in a phased approach working with other government role players, the Police, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) as well as departments of Home Affairs, Tourism, Public Works, Transport, Health, State Security and Agriculture.
To date, seven companies have been deployed and, as of April 2012, a further four companies will be deployed on the Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho border that will bring the total number of deployed companies to 11.The deployment includes army engineers who are conducting repairs and maintenance on the Zimbabwe/Mozambique border fence (approximately 140 km).
As part of this deployment, operations are being conducted to combat cross-border crime, stock theft and illegal grazing, as well as rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park (KNP). Thirteen rhino poachers were captured through this operation. These deployed companies have confiscated contraband to the value of more than R16 million in the financial year 2011/12. It included 7593kg of dagga and 453 kg copper. Additionally, 522 cattle were recovered and 737 small stock. More than 14000 undocumented foreign nationals were apprehended, 51 stolen vehicles were recovered and 36 criminals were arrested.
The rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park has decreased since the deployment of the SANDF in that area. However the poachers have shifted their focus and are now targeting private parks where we have seen a number of increased killings of the rhinos. Law enforcement agencies are collaborating in dealing with this challenge.
Output 7: Integrity of identity and status of citizen and residents secured
The Department of Home Affairs has begun re-orientating itself towards ensuring an optimal balance between its security imperative and service delivery. In this regard, substantial service delivery improvements, amongst which are increased efficiency levels and the management of key processes, especially in the civic environment (improved turnaround of IDs and passports), have been noted.
In addition, the Department of Home Affairs has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the banking industry, through the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), to roll out the online fingerprint verification system in all participating banks.
The implementation of this system will enable the banks to verify details of their clients with the Department, through the Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS). In this way, it will help protect South Africans against identity theft and fraud as well as the attendant corruption. It will at the same time mitigate the loss suffered by the banks and their clients.
The National Population Register (NPR) was introduced and implemented to secure the integrity of identity and status of citizens. During the first six months of 2011/12, a total of 336558 births of children were registered between 0 and 30 days. Identity Documents issued to persons aged 16 years and above during the first six months of 2011/12 amounted to 685769. New processes have been implemented to address the late registration of births.
The Department is currently finalising a draft immigration policy for discussion and consultation. Proper immigration management at ports of entry is critical and constitutes the first line of defence for any country.
We encourage South Africans to safeguard their IDs as their passports in order to make it difficult for criminals to commit crime using these important documents.
Output 8: Cyber-crime combated
Government remains committed to fighting and defeating cyber criminals. Pursuant to this a Cyber-security Policy Framework will be tabled with Cabinet shortly. In addition, the finalisation of specific cybercrime plans will be a priority for 2012. The police have in the interim put operational measures in place to deal with incident management in this regard and several cases have been prosecuted by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), whilst others are currently under investigation.
The reduction in cyber-crime is, however, interdependent and multi-faceted. It requires the intervention of parents in monitoring their children’s online activities in order to ensure that they do not become victims of human and drug trafficking as well as other abuses.
The increased access to cyberspace has resulted in improved networking and instant communication through the use of social networking sites. Due to their popularity and their instant nature, they have an undesired consequence in that they are tools and platforms that accelerate criminal activities.
The need for all of us to have our SIM cards registered in compliance with Regulation of Interception of Communication Act (RICA) was among other things intended to combat cybercrime. To date, approximately 37 million SIM cards have been registered in accordance with this legislation. This will reduce the possibility for criminals using cyber technology to plan and execute crime. In this way, we seek to increase the chances of their detection and enhance the quality of evidence which we will present before the courts during trial.
The JCPS cluster led by the police, has already begun intensifying cooperation with police services in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and within INTERPOL to fight crime syndicates, particularly cyber criminals. Furthermore, we are aware of the urgent need to up the skill of our investigators and detectives in order to register more victories against criminals. We have noted commendable work and good progress made by various agencies in attending to for example the Post Office heist.
As government in general and as this cluster in particular, we will remain steadfast in ensuring that all people in our country enjoy their freedoms and all amenities attendant to a safe, secure and democratic South Africa. The fight against corruption will be intensified. We value partnerships we have with progressive organised formations as we believe that working together we can do more in the fight against crime. We trust that the other branches of the State, the Legislature and the Judiciary, will continue to identify with our cause and support it in the areas of their work. Crime and corruption must not be allowed to undermine the democracy we struggled so hard for and for whom so many sacrificed so much.
Chief Director: Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster Communication
Cell:082 574 5495
Statement issued by the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster
Issued by: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development