Judicial inspectorate for correctional services underspends on staffing
CAPE TOWN - The Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) has underspent by more than R10 million in its annual budget of R77.2m, the JICS 2019/20 annual report has revealed.
JICS, which is the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) watchdog, has, however, downplayed the underspending as having no impact on its performance, although the non-filling of vacant posts were identified as the main reason for the underspending.
Of the R77 244 000 in the 2019/2020 financial year budget, the entity has spent R67 158 313, which reflects a 13 percent shortfall and the report which is yet to be tabled in Parliament attributed to non-filling of vacant funded positions, including more than 83 vacant posts of the Independent Correctional Centre Visitors (ICCVs).
ICCVs are employed by the JICS to physically visit and inspect the conditions of 161 000 inmates housed at the country’s 243 correctional centres.
*JICS spokesperson Emerantia Cupido said JICS currently has 213 ICCVs after 82 of those that were vacant were advertised in July and later filled. She said 21 other posts, which were left vacant after people had resigned or declined employment, are in the process of being filled.
*She said if one or two people resign, JICS cannot immediately appoint their replacements “ because that would come down to wasteful expenditure because the treasury has also stated that we have to look at how we monitor our funds”.
“We are currently busy with bulk recruitment.”
The ICCV’s main responsibility is to monitor how complaints directed to the DCS are being handled internally.
According to the report the in-house ICCVs made 5 633 site visits and conducted 134 806 interviews with inmates to get to the bottom of the complaints.
*Cupido said ICCVs had handled 190 complaints, which were referred to the Visitors Committee as per Section 94(3)(a) of the CSA (Correctional Services Act), and these were successfully resolved.
This is despite the fact that various inmates across the country had through SA Prisoners’ Organisation for Human Rights recently expressed frustration about serious human rights violations at various correctional service centres across the country, including alleged torture, murder, overcrowding and provision of the substandard meal.
DCS, which is JICS’s has oversight role over, has also underspent more than R484m of its 2019/2020 financial year’s R25.3 billion budget due to vacant posts.