ISSUED BY ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY
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.
Ms. Annelizé van Wyk, MP
UDM Spokesperson for Safety and Security
22 October 2001