Minister Ronald Lamola says self-sustainability must be the lasting legacy of DCS.
Life is not as we knew it amidst COVID-19. The new normal demands a change of approach and innovation in strategic planning. Severe budget cuts in the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), as alluded to by National Treasury towards economic recovery of the country, necessitates that DCS develop creative ways to improve service delivery and do more with less.
Pronouncing his priorities yesterday (25 November 2020), at the opening of the DCS Annual Strategic Planning Session 2021/22 at Leeuwkop, Minister Ronald Lamola said self-sustainability must be realized and this must be the lasting legacy of DCS. He said the session must make and adopt firm resolutions, measureable outcomes and performance areas that will enable this. “We must be measured by this aspect of our work. Food for inmates at correctional centres is unaffordable, it stretches our resources. We must explore business models that are financially sustainable and will provide offenders with opportunities to expand their skills base. Until we realize complete self-sufficiency in Correctional Services, we would not have delivered on our mandate,” the Minister said.
Both Minister Lamola and Deputy Minister Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa addressed DCS managers on the first day of the three-day session, and shared their concerns on the adverse findings by the Auditor-General. The challenges with compliance, audit qualifications, lack of consequence management, inmate management system, information communication technology, non-compliance with State Information Technology Agency (SITA) regulations, and ever rising irregular expenditure have become permanent attributes of the Department, the Minister said. He further alluded that corruption had no room in DCS, and it hinders much-needed economic growth, threatens capacity to turn around the economy and creation of jobs and solidifies a perception of incompetence and poor leadership.
Nkosi Holomisa counselled the session to develop an action plan or Audit Turn-Around Strategy that will prioritise all response measures and curb irregular expenditure, and that the Accounting Officer must provide monthly reports to the Ministry. “This Audit Action Plan should include capacity development on Supply Chain Management both at Head Office and Regional levels. All Chief Deputy Commissioners, Regional Commissioners, Internal Audit Unit members as well as the Internal Audit Committee should form part of this high-level Rapid Response Team, to expedite remedial measures in response to the audit outcomes,” he said.
Other areas of concern included the general maintenance of dilapidating DCS infrastructure, failure to apply restorative justice adequately which continues to portray the Department in a negative light and information technology (IT) challenges that DCS is failing to resolve, resulting in the Department remaining trapped in a backward state where employees are bound to do manual work while there are technological advances that could provide solutions.
CDC: Strategic Management, Joseph Katenga announced that DCS has partnered with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to develop a Master Information Systems and Security Technology Plan (MISSTP) to advance the Department’s technology and security posture in keeping with the fourth industrial resolution. He said the successful development and implementation of such a plan is dependent on its alignment to business processes and human capital.
Relevant stakeholders, such as the Department of Health, the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (merSETA), National Treasury and Chair of the Audit Committee, also delivered presentations, to foster intergovernmental relations.
The session continues today, with discussions on plans for the forthcoming financial year.