Plan for the period 2013-2018
During the 2012/13 financial year, the National Development Plan 2030, which focuses the efforts of South Africans to address the key challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, was unveiled. In this document, imperatives are set out for the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster, which, among others, include strengthening the criminal justice system, strengthening governance and the rule of law, and the role of the judiciary in the developmental South African state. The department’s leadership will, with the collaboration of cluster departments, ensure alignment to this plan from the 2014/15 financial year and, most importantly, ensure the implementation of initiatives that will enable government to reach its identified goals.
There has been an increase in the number of reported sexual offences cases, which, in part, shows the willingness of victims to bring perpetrators to book. This effort by members of the public should be encouraged so that this heinous crime can be drastically reduced. The department will prioritise sexual offences by re-establishing dedicated sexual offences courts throughout the country. Some of the courts will be ready to operate at the beginning of the 2013/14 financial year, whereas some will be designated in subsequent years. It is envisaged that this effort will assist in the efficient finalisation of cases and improve efforts to address this scourge.
With regard to the level of crime in general, the drop in the number of reported incidents is a consolation to members of the public. However, the degree of violence that is associated with these crimes is unacceptable. The department will continue with its efforts to improve collaboration with cluster departments and to modernise information and communication systems to assist in better coordination. The Ministry is pleased that a number of modernisation projects, such as electronic docket sharing, are showing good progress and that more are being undertaken.
The four strategic goals of the department are:
- Goal 1: Enhanced organisational performance on all aspects of administration
in line with set
standards, and meeting and exceeding the needs and aspirations of key
Goal statement: Improved compliance with legal and good practice requirements in respect of governance across all branches and structures of the department towards an unqualified audit.
- Goal 2: To facilitate the (effective and efficient)
resolution of criminal, civil, and family law disputes by
providing accessible, efficient and quality administrative support to
Goal statement: Courts and justice service points supported to improve the finalisation rates, efficiencies and backlogs in respect of all criminal, civil and family matters.
- Goal 3: Effective and cost-efficient provision of
state legal services that anticipate, meet and exceed
stakeholder needs and expectations.
Goal statement: The exposure of government to legal risk is reduced, citizens have access to quality guardian and probate services, the state has access to legal advice and services, and constitutional development is promoted.
- Goal 4: Effective coordination of the JCPS Cluster in the delivery
of Outcome 3.
Goal statement: Provision of effective coordination of the cluster to enable the achievement of the eight outputs that will result in the successful delivery of Outcome 3: “All people in South Africa are and feel safe.”
- Goal 5: Promotion of the Constitution and its values.
Goal statement: Compliance by government departments with the Promotion of the Administrative Justice Act (PAJA) is substantially improved, citizens are better informed on how to exercise their constitutional rights, public engagement with relevant stakeholders, civil society organisations and community-based organisations is improved through public participatory fora, and constitutional development is promoted.
The key priorities that have been identified are as follows:
- PRIORITY 1: Good governance and clean administration, resulting
in a ‘No Audit Qualification’ in 2012/13
Although audit outcomes have improved in the 2010/11 financial year, increased efforts are needed to achieve a ‘No Audit Qualification’ outcome. The department will improve and entrench financial management and other internal business processes.
- PRIORITY 2: Service turnaround in Maintenance Services
A large proportion of clients who interact with the department require maintenance services. About 80% of Third Party Funds managed by the department are maintenance funds held on behalf of children. An improvement of
services related to maintenance will assist parents (mostly mothers) who struggle to obtain maintenance for their children. Many of these parents are employed full-time and find it difficult to attend to maintenance processes during working hours.
A project has been initiated to examine the maintenance value chain, identify opportunities to improve services and make an impact on the lives of children. This includes application procedures, the processing of applications, making payments and instituting punitive measures for defaulting parents.
- PRIORITY 3: Service turnaround in the Master’s Branch
The Master of the High Court delivers services at a time when people are vulnerable. These services include the winding up of deceased estates, the administration of insolvent estates, and payments from the Guardian’s Fund.
The turnaround project will focus on both the softer issues of working with clients in distress and the hard issues related to the speedy finalisation of matters