Inspecting Judge of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS), Justice Edwin Cameron, accompanied by JICS officials, visited Johannesburg Management Area yesterday (05 May 2020).
The visit forms part of the monitoring and oversight of correctional facilities, particularly in the time of the coronavirus. Justice Cameron was received by National Commissioner Mr Arthur Fraser, Chief Operations Commissioner Mr Mandla Mkabela as well as other senior managers.
As part of the briefing to the Inspecting Judge, Johannesburg Area Commissioner Mr Luckyboy Mathiba presented an overview of the Management Area which entailed information pertaining to the inmate population and accommodation. Mr Mathiba highlighted challenges relating to overcrowding, and how the management area was coping under such conditions. The Area Commissioner explained in detail plans being implemented in the Management Area in terms of awareness, screening and testing for Covid-19. Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) was one of the issues also accentuated, and it was indicated that sanitizers, masks and gloves were available and provided to Heads of Centres and various components for distribution in relevant areas.
The Inspecting Judge was later taken to Medium A Correctional Centre, housing male remand detainees, where he got to see first-hand the condition of the facility and was also able to interact with inmates. Justice Cameron encouraged officials to continue doing their best during this time to curb the rapid spread of Covid-19 in correctional facilities, with the limited resources available. He emphasised that, effective and humane incarceration of inmates, as well as rehabilitation and social reintegration of offenders, is of paramount importance at all times. The Inspecting Judge advised management to come up with mitigation plans that will help to overcome challenges encountered in correctional facilities during this difficult time and going forward. He is expected to report his findings to Minister Ronald Lamola and National Commissioner Fraser.
Justice Cameron is a retired Judge of the Constitutional Court, and was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa as Inspecting Judge of JICS for a three-year term with effect from 1 January 2020.
The mandate of JICS is to uphold and protect the rights of all inmates who are incarcerated. JICS is responsible for the independent oversight of the Department of Correctional Services and must report thereon to the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services and Parliament’s Portfolio Committee.