Parliament, Wednesday, 8 July 2020 – The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services today heard that the department and its entities expected budget cuts from National Treasury of R2.2 billion, but fortunately this was reduced to R416 million.
The committee was briefed today by the Department of Justice and Correctional Services as well as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on possible budget adjustments following the Covid-19 pandemic, and the directive that all departments should contribute to the government’s R500 billion relief package to assist frontline departments.
Committee Chairperson Mr Bulelani Magwanishe said the committee welcomed the fact that the cuts are not as severe as initially expected, particularly that Chapter 9 Institution supporting democracy will not be affected by the cuts.
The lower-than-expected budget cuts give the department the confidence to proceed with the remedial plans and interventions. The department’s human resource capability remains central to the achievement of the turn-around plan and therefore the filling of the 49 critical senior management posts worth R59 million and the review of the departmental structure continue as planned.
Covid-19 has refocused the department’s priorities on the need to invest in ICT and an integrated justice system (IJS), which were the Minister’s priorities even before Covid-19. The pandemic now provides additional impetus to the department’s modernisation and digitisation plans. Fortunately, IJS budgets avoided cuts in the supplementary budget and this enables the department to proceed with modernising the justice system. Mr Magwanishe commented that the IJS plans may need updating, as they were drafted 20 years ago.
Regarding the NPA, the committee heard that budget cuts will not impact on its ability to deliver on the annual performance plan, as previously presented to the committee. However, the impact of the pandemic on the ability of the courts to operate optimally is resulting in a significant reduction in cases finalised.
The NPA did not recruit to fill all positions and has been able to reprioritise R150 million from the compensation of employee budget allocation to contribute to the Covid-19 relief package. It has remaining savings of R75 million. It will now begin a recruitment drive. In addition,
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, MR BULELANI MAGWANISHE.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Rajaa Azzakani (Ms)
Tel: 021 403 8437
Cell: 081 703 9542
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