Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Ronald Lamola says the National Prosecuting Authority will have to find ways and means to get funding in order to fund its operations.
Briefing the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services of the National Assembly, Lamola says a financial injection of about R7 million is needed urgently.
In the past 12 months, the Department of Correctional Services has had to deal with 56 escapes.
Justice and Correctional Services says the escapes as well as the smuggling of contraband into prisons have raised questions about the operations and security at correctional facilities.
A number of security breaches, some of them captured on camera, have caused alarm in the ministry.
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola says, “There has been a number of irregular and unacceptable episodes where security breaches have attracted not just negative publicity for the department, but have questioned operations and security systems at centre level. In fact, some of these disturbances could have been avoided if managed correctly.”
Lamola says organised labour within the sector as well as the NPA will be engaging in adopting a zero-tolerance policy towards the smuggling of contraband into prisons.
Senior managers will have to account where breaches were reported. Suspension notices have already been served.
The Minister adds that “Errant officials, involved in the smuggling craft and other offences, will not be spared any mercy. These officials will be summarily dismissed.”
Body scanners will be introduced at seven correctional facilities. Scanners, previously acquired, had never been functional.
The minister also said procedural measures, such as regular patrols and cell searches, will be beefed up. This, despite the fact that the department has a high vacancy rate.
Lamola says facilities will just have to make do, with what they have.
“The committee will remember that there was a moratorium in terms of appointments, which has also affected the NPA. So, within the NPA, we have to come with creative ways on how we help at this current juncture.”
“And one of the things that we must understand, some of the interventions that we must look at is that we must help them to find some money to deal with, especially the investigating unit. The Director-General will be able to speak and if I am not mistaken R7 million that they must be able to find before the next Medium-Term Budget Speech.”