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UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

 

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE GREATEST OBSTACLE IN COMBATING CRIME

STATEMENT ISSUED BY ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY

The ongoing maladministration, corruption and unstable conditions in the Department of Justice are some of the defining reasons for government's failure to deal with crime decisively.

Reports of corrupt officials, theft and general chaos in our court system  are a daily occurrence. In an answer to a question put to the Minister of Justice it was said that 1049 person days were lost during the September strike by State Attorneys. This is an unacceptable loss in working days, for an overburdened and bottlenecked justice system. While officials' right to strike are not questioned, the impact of the loss of three years work by 219 attorneys cannot be downplayed. These strikes are an embodiment of a general rule of chaos within the Department of Justice. Fighting crime in South Africa is not the responsibility of the SAPS alone. It is an integrated effort by all the Departments in the Security cluster - for that reason such a cluster exists.

The department of Justice is through its incapability adding pressure on the SAPS and its already thinly spread staff. Detectives cannot finalise cases and thus end up with 60-70 cases per month, completely overloaded. The Department of Correctional Services is another department that suffers because of the inability of Justice to play its rightful and productive part. It would be interesting to find out what the impact of the Department of Justice's incapability is on the overcrowded prisons. It will no longer do to try and bedazzle the public by claiming success, and expect them to believe that is the reason for overcrowded prisons. Too many of those in prison are awaiting trial prisoners trapped for months or even years before the Department of Justice can attend to them.

The UDM calls on the Minister of Justice to get his house in order so that the Department of Justice can play a positive role in fighting crime and not be an obstacle. The ministers of Safety and Security as well as Correctional Services should also apply pressure on their Cabinet colleague.

Enquiries:
Ms. Annelizé van Wyk, MP
UDM Spokesperson for Safety and Security

Cape Town
22 October 2001

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