3 November 2013
Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster media briefing chaired by Justice and Constitutional Development Minister, Jeff Radebe
Directors-General and Heads of other institutions present,
Members of the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen
In 1994, South Africa began its formal transition to a constitutional democracy and freedom anchored on principles of human rights, dignity and respect for the rule of law. One of the main objectives at the time was to cleanse the image of the criminal justice system and transform it into an effective and integrated system that is responsive to the needs of the people and protects human rights.
The aim has been to contribute towards a society in which all live, work and trade safely in all areas of the country without fear of violation. This ideal remains the driving force of the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS) and also finds expression in the National Development Plan which sets out government’s progressive proposals for improved public safety and a prosperous society by 2030.
Despite all the positive steps that have been continuously undertaken to build a human rights based society, there are still those amongst us who continue to undermine the values enshrined in our Constitution. We are concerned about the abduction and senseless violation and killing of innocent vulnerable persons. However, we are encouraged by the speedy response of the police and the resoluteness of the criminal justice system (CJS) to deal effectively with criminal acts perpetrated against vulnerable people. Yesterday, South Africa celebrated National Children’s Day under the theme “Sireletsa bana - creating a caring nation”. The JCPS Cluster urges all South Africans to heed the recent call by Cabinet to protect children as they are our future leaders.
The successful prosecution and severe sentences imposed by our courts in relation to cases such as that of Anene Booysen demonstrates sterling work and is evidence of an effective justice system that protects victims of crime. We welcome the two life sentences handed to the perpetrator and believe this will assist to serve as a deterrent to any would-be rapists and murderers. The successes achieved are the result of an integrated approach by the different units within the CJS. We especially acknowledge the good investigative work done by the South African Police Service’s Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences detection unit.
Capacitation of our institutions
As the JCPS Cluster, we continue to capacitate our institutions and improve our systems in order to effectively prevent and collectively respond to any act of crime. We therefore welcome the appointment of the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Mr Mxolisi Nxasana and the Head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), Adv. Vasantrai Soni, SC. We also welcome the appointment of Ms. Sophy Noko, the new Director of Public Prosecutions of the jurisdictional area of KwaZulu-Natal Division of the High Court of South Africa with effect from 1 September 2013. We are confident that these appointments will enhance the credibility, integrity and stability of the institutions which they now lead and will also add the necessary expertise required for an effective and integrated CJS.
We further believe that the recently appointed Auditor-General, Mr Kimi Makwetu, will continue with the good work done by the predecessor, Mr Terence Nombembe, in the strengthening of our administration by improving accountability.
Crime affects all people - it is our common enemy, hence we remain firmly committed to strengthening partnerships with all communities to ensure that we meet the obligations of the JCPS Delivery Agreement as articulated in Outcome 3, namely to ensure that “all in SA are and feel safe”. In line with this we call on all people in South Africa to work in partnership with the law enforcement agencies by reporting all criminal activities to the police and to come forward with evidence when they witness any wrong doing.
Government initiatives to fight crime are paying dividends and we have seen over the past 9 years a continuous decline of the most serious crime forms notwithstanding an increase in the population figures. We are however cognisant that more still needs to be done.
This week we received the positive news that the North Gauteng High Court, had 11 years after home-made bombs rocked Soweto, finalised the Boeremag High Treason Trial.
We note that the 20 accused were a small group of misguided individuals who had failed to prove they were oppressed and had in fact committed very serious crimes against a democratically elected government.
This was a very lengthy and expensive trial, but we endured this because justice had to run its course. All the men were convicted of high treason while five were found guilty on the additional charges of culpable homicide and conspiracy to commit murder.
The sentences – ranging from five to 35 years' imprisonment on the various accused and will serve as a deterrent to those whose acts undermine or threaten State security. In addition, it was ruled that the Boeremag members sentenced for high treason will not get back the assets seized from them by the police as the will be forfeited to the State as proceeds of crime.
This was sterling work by the Cluster and is evidence of an effective CJS that protects our democracy and the victims of crime.
For the period April 2013 until the end of September 2013 (end of Quarter 2 of the current financial year), the following progress can be noted:
Reduced overall levels of serious crime, in particular contact and trio crimes.
I will not go into the detail of the official 2012/13 statistics released in September by the Minister of Police, but just wish to highlight the following continued good progress over a period of time. Contact Crime has reduced by 38.2% over 9 years (2004/5-2012/13); 16.0% during the past 4 years (2009/10-2012/13) and 4.2% during the past financial year (2012/13).
According to the Ipsos Markinor study 2013, more than half (55%) of the population perceive government as performing well in ensuring the safety of the public by deploying the police within communities.
A particular challenge being experienced in the fight against crime is the continuing violent protests that have escalated in the past two years across various sectors, requiring the redeployment of critical resources to those areas. This detracts from the optimal use of police and other CJS staff for normal crime fighting and administration of justice processes.
Some of the measures that have been implemented to deal with these violent protests monitoring of the situation country-wide on a daily basis;
addressing any illegal behaviour in terms of e.g. violent protests; enforcing of the prohibition of carrying dangerous weapons during protests; prioritised investigations through the Detective Division and ensuring speedy trial readiness of all criminal cases arising from such violent protests; with an additional 5,000 new intake members Public Order Police (POP) capacity and training has been enhanced.
Mine Crime Combating Forums
The National Police Commissioner launched on 14 August the Mine Crime Combating Forum in Rustenburg, Northwest Province. Since then, these forums have also been set up in other provinces with mining operations. These forums ensure that as the stakeholders interact, they will be sharing information, challenges and best practices, as well as jointly coming up with sustainable solutions to address problems specific to their industry. These forums are part of a JCPS Cluster Crime Combating Fora. We would like to take this opportunity to call on all stakeholders, including the trade unions to work with us in creating stability in the mining sector.
The Integrated Criminal Justice system role players have committed themselves to improve case management and capacity to ensure prosecution and adjudication of the matters arising from mining unrest.
Festive Season Operation – Duty Calls
The Minister of Police, has recently launched the 2013/2014 “Festive Season Operation – Duty Calls” in George. It is centred on six pillars, focusing on aggravated robberies, border security, illegal firearms, liquor and Second Hand Goods Act enforcement, by-law enforcements and road safety enforcement. The operations officially began on the 15 October 2013 and will end on 31 January 2014. During this period police will increase visibility on foot, vehicle and air support. There will be more roadblocks, cordon & search operations primarily focussing on the proliferation of firearms, preventing aggravated robberies and the capture of criminals on the wanted list. We call on the public to assist us in ensuring we have a safe festive season.
Effective and integrated Criminal Justice System (CJS)
Increased Trial ready docket rate
The JCPS target for the trial ready docket rate was set at 35% to be achieved by 2014. This target was already surpassed in 2012/13. Good progress continued this year and for the second quarter of this financial year, a 69.60% trial ready case docket rate was achieved.
Improved Case Finalisation and ADRM
At the end of quarter 2 (2013/14), the total number of cases finalised for quarters 1 and 2, including those finalised through Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (ADRM), was 259 744, against the year to date target of 246 850. This is 5.2% better than the current year to date target and 8.2 % better than the performance (239 956 cases finalised) for the same period in 2012/13. In total, 88 497 cases were finalised through ADRM – therefore a 24.3% improvement against the year to date target of 71 190.
In terms of conviction rate the various court levels all performed better than the targets set for Quarters 1 and 2: High Courts: target – 87%; performance: 88.1%; Regional Courts: target – 74%; performance: 75.3%; District Courts: target – 87%; performance (an exceptional): 96.6%.
Reduced Case Backlogs
The total backlog cases at the end of September 2013 for all courts stood at new record low of only 26 233 cases, which is 24.7% better than the target set for the end of Quarter 2 of 32 117. The 86 backlog courts disposed of 13 778 cases for the period April to end September 2013.
The Regional and District backlog courts have removed in total 96 432 cases from the court rolls since 1 November 2006 when they started until the end of September 2013; comprising of 68 793 cases finalised, 24 578 cases withdrawn and 3 061 cases transferred to higher courts.
These forums have also been set up in the other provinces with mining operations.
Case Flow Management Initiatives
To complement the work of the JCPS Cluster, the Judiciary, under the able leadership of Chief Justice Mogoeng, continues to make significant interventions to ensure that courts perform optimally. A National Efficiency Enhancement Committee has been set up by the Chief Justice (which comprises of Heads of the Judiciary, the DOJ&CD, the NPA and Legal Aid SA) to monitor court performance and to implement remedial steps where necessary. The Chief Justice is also involved in developing standards and norms for the courts and this will also help improve court efficiency.
Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) and Sexual Offences
There are currently 35 (TCCs) fully functional at 51 sites. We have met the 2014 target that we had adopted for ourselves. The additional 16 sites are at different operational levels, but are not fully operational yet. 5 TCCs sites were added during the past financial year, namely at Mthatha (Eastern Cape), Khayelitsha (Western Cape), Lenasia (Gauteng), Chatsworth and Port Shepstone (both KwaZulu-Natal). The conviction rate in the prosecution of sexual offences reported at TCCs for the 2nd Quarter of this year is 65.8%, which is an improvement of 5.2% compared to last year.
In August 2013 we re-launched the dedicated Sexual Offences Court in the Butterworth. The cluster has identified 57 Sexual Offences Courts to be operationalized during the current financial cycle, 22 are expected to be re-established during this financial year. The following courts have been re-established thus far: Butterworth, Welkom and Ntuzuma. These courts are aimed at improving the management of sexual offences in a manner that protects the dignity of the victim.
During the past two quarters, the Cluster continued the past two quarters to integrate and modernise its systems for effective administration of all matters that go through the criminal justice system towards an improved service delivery. A typical example of work dealt with in this regard is the prioritisation of the integration of all the departmental case related systems (in and across police, NPA, Justice, Legal Aid SA, DCS). This will contribute to the increased use of technology and a shift from manual paperwork. It will also result in less fraudulent activities resulting in case of loss dockets.
The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has successfully implemented the Electronic Monitoring Pilot Project (EMPP) for tracking parolees (as at 23 September 2013, 147 parolees were tagged). This will now be extended to a pilot electronic monitoring system of inmates.
In line with government’s transformative agenda, DCS has started to transform prisons from institutions of humiliation to institutions of new beginnings. The White Paper on Corrections represents the final fundamental break with a past penal system, and has ushered in a new start where prisons have become correctional centres of rehabilitation. Offenders are given new hope, and encouragement, to adopt a lifestyle that will result in a second chance towards becoming ideal citizens.
The rehabilitation programmes which provide for offenders who are due for parole or release are playing a significant role in their reintegration to society and families. The average number of parolees without violations for the quarter is 45 357 against an average number of 48 943 parolees. The department is also supervising 67 760 people who are subjected to Community Corrections.
The initiatives in the fight against corruption have seen more people arrested for fraudulent and illicit activities. In total 522 incidents/allegations of serous corruption were recorded by the end June 2013. A total of 791 persons are currently under criminal, financial and or forensic investigation. Of these a total of 92 persons received or potentially received R5 million or more illicit benefit. (32 meet the R5 million criteria (Freezing Orders) criminal benefit per person and 60 persons potentially meet the R5 million criminal benefit criteria per person.)
There are pre-trial proceedings in 98 priority cases against 287 accused at present, whilst actual trial proceedings have been initiated against 159 accused. In this regard 41 accused persons have been convicted, 2 acquitted and the charges were withdrawn against 25 persons. Within the JCPS Cluster, for the year to end September 2013, 228 people were successfully convicted for corruption related crimes (according to NPA statistics).
Asset Forfeiture Unit
In the first 6 months of 2013/14 the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the NPA had exceptional success in taking the profit out of crime. It paid a total of R149 million into the Criminal Assets Recovery Account (CARA) and to the victims of crime. This is 170% above its target of R55 million and higher than it has ever achieved in a full year.
- In this regard R82 million in cash was paid into CARA – this is already R17 million higher than in any previous full year. The most noteworthy deposits are:
- R54 million from the Tannenbaum Ponzi scheme – the biggest ever deposit made into CARA
- R8.75 million from the David King case
- R1 million from Joe Nyalunga who poached rhino from Kruger Park. A further R7.4 million is to be returned to SanParks as the victim of the crime.
- R4 million in cash from Ngcoc Pham, a Vietnamese national, found with 10 rhino horn
- R4 million from Modestus Chigo Akweke, a Nigerian national dealing in drugs in Johannesburg
- R1.6 million from Koo man Lee, abalone smuggler in Cape Town
- R1.2 million from Busiswe Motsepe, an alleged drug dealer in Springs
- R1.1 million from Ivan Marvis, a drug dealer in Johannesburg
- R950 000 from a group of Nigerian nationals who defrauded a US citizen in a 419 scam. A further R683 733 was returned to the victim of the crime.
- In addition, R67 million was returned to the victims of crime. The most noteworthy cases are:
- 3 farms valued at R52m were returned to the Department of Rural Development and Land Distribution in KZN. They had been corruptly transferred to private persons or entities:
- R27 million - Tangeni in Newcastle
- R22 million - Arthur’s Seat in Winterton
- R 3 million - Welte Vreden in Dundee
- R2.7 million was returned to various foreign investors that had been defrauded by Jacobus Janse van Vuuren from Pretoria
- R1.5 million from the Pato Ponzi or pyramid scheme in Cape Town was returned to the victims.
South Africa’s borders effectively safeguarded and secured
The deployment of SANDF’s troops to patrol the country’s borders continues to contribute significantly to reducing the levels of crime and safeguarding of the sovereignty of our country. Currently the SANDF has 13 companies, comprising a total of 2 469 members, deployed in seven provinces (Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal, Free State, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and North West).
In the period under review, SANDF apprehended 600 undocumented persons, the majority of them arrested along the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe (259), followed by the border with Swaziland. The SANDF also confiscated contraband to the value of R1,296,431.00 on the RSA/Zimbabwe border. A total amount of contraband confiscated on all RSA borders is valued at R1,756,651.00. Importation of illegal goods including livestock into the country has a huge negative impact on the economy of our country and health our people.
Integrity of Identity and Status of Citizens and Residents secured
The Department of Home Affairs is rolling out the first phase of new smart identity (ID) cards. The advanced security features of these cards ensure that it is difficult to forge or tamper with. Logical security features include fingerprint biometrics and biographic data which is embedded on the card chip. Recently three offices were opened in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town to receive applications for the smart ID card. The Government hopes to open 26 more offices across the country, fitted with modern technology, queue management systems to start take in applications for the smart ID card by the end of November 2013. It is important to note however that the smart ID card will take a few years to be rolled to everyone; the public should wait to be invited to apply for the smart ID card; applications will be in accordance with dates of birth and the smart ID card will be issued free of charge to 16 year-olds. The government will in due course make further announcements regarding the roll-out of the smart ID card.
REGISTER TO VOTE IN THE 2014 NATIONAL ELECTIONS
We take this opportunity to call on all South Africans to timeously apply for IDs to enable them to exercise their democratic right to elect a government of their choice
In dealing with issues of crime, Government proceeds from a premise that a rising quality of life also means improvement in the safety and security of citizens; in their homes and environments where they live, work and engage in extramural activities.
We have in the past emphasized that the battle against crime cannot be separated from the war on want. In the main, incidents of contact crime such as murder, grievous bodily harm and rape occur among acquaintances in poor communities where living and entertainment environments do not allow for decent family and social life. This speaks to the challenge of addressing the three resilient fault lines, which are poverty, unemployment and inequality as identified by government. Some of these matters are not primarily security matters, therefore, as government we are adopting a multi-disciplinary approach to address these social ills together with other Clusters.
The duty of protecting our children and the elderly against abuse, neglect and exploitation cannot be left to government alone. The primary responsibility lies with parents, guardians and the community at large. Most of these crimes happen in our homes, and are committed by people known to the victims. The Criminal Justice System usually only intervenes after the fact when the damage has already been done. Working together we will protect the most vulnerable members of our society.
The task of ensuring that our country is safe, secure and prosperous requires the effort of all of us working together in concert. Only when we work together can we ensure that all people in South Africa are and feel safe.
Chief Director: JCPS Cluster Supervisor
Cell: 082 574 5495
Issued by: GCIS