Commissioner Thobakgale urges DCS senior managers to be firm in implementing the Audit Action Plan recommendations

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On 22 August 2022, the Department of Correctional Services’ (DCS) Management Committee (ManCo) members convened virtually to deliberate on pertinent matters relating to the operations and administration of the department. In an effort to ensure that the department delivers on its mandate, DCS apex leadership convene monthly to take stock on how the department is faring in the quest to achieve its service delivery targets. This month’s ManCo meeting coincided with the National Operations Committee (NOC) weekly meeting, and as a result, the apex leadership had to synchronize the two meetings.
This meeting also took place during August, which is Women’s Month, whereby South Africans celebrate and honour women who took part in the protest against apartheid Pass Laws in 1956 and other draconian legislations. In his opening remarks, acting National Commissioner Makgothi Thobakgale paid tribute to all female officials in DCS. “As we celebrate Women’s Month, may we not only do so during this month, but rather give women the honour, support and respect they deserve throughout their lifetime,” he said.
Commissioner Thobakgale also provided feedback from the interactive sessions with officials at Head Office on salary levels 5 – 13 on 13 August 2022, at Kgosi Mampuru Management Area. He indicated that these sessions are significant for the department to press the pause button and reflect on the performance of the department, offer officials an opportunity to raise their concerns and provide progress reports to the officials. Amongst the issues raised and discussed at the meeting was non-advertising of administrative posts, inadequate parking spaces for officials and lack of succession planning. He further recommended that these interactive sessions with officials should take place every six months to ensure that all officials are kept abreast on the operations and administration of the department.
Commissioner Thobakgale also commended all managers for the notable improvements on the department’s performance during quarter one of the 2022/2023 financial year.
Thereafter, Manco members deliberated on related issues and reports on the status of deliverables tasked to be actioned in the previous Manco meeting, including progress on the implementation of the Self-Sufficiency and Sustainable Framework (SSSF) which is aimed at ensuring self-sustenance with regard to production workshops and agricultural production as well as enhancing the distribution route of self-produced products amongst regions.
Deputy Commissioner (DC): Personal Development, Minette Plaatjies mentioned that DCS has thus far established new projects and expanded some of the existing projects in furtherance of the objectives of SSSF in the department. These include the state-of-the-art Incinerator project that was officially launched by Deputy Minister Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa on 08 July 2022, in Heidelstroom, Western Cape region. DC Plaatjies further detailed the budget allocation on biological assets, production workshops as well as status of recapitalisation on machinery and equipment per region. An annual report that focuses on SSSF will be submitted to the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services.
Chief Deputy Commissioner (CDC): Human Resources, Cynthia Ramulifho presented the official DCS Accommodation Policy that was approved with amendments by Commissioner Thobakgale in May 2022. The policy outlines crucial matters relating to accommodation of officials including the criteria on the allocation of houses. According to the policy, official accommodation shall be allocated to the following officials:
• Officials responsible for the preparation of food and the provision of health to offenders;
• If an official is transferred on a state initiative and in the interest of the employer to an area where he/she does not have private accommodation;
• Officials responsible for the direct management of the Correctional Centre; and
• Officials, who may, due to their functioning, have been exposed to any personal security threat.
Concluding the meeting, Commissioner Thobakgale acknowledged the determination displayed by the senior managers in ensuring that both meetings, the NOC and Manco, are a success and for their active participation and vigorous deliberations. He also urged them to implement the departmental Audit Action Plan and ensure that all decisions taken are in line with the recommendations as stipulated in the plan. He also urged members to expedite all outstanding investigations in order to avoid audit queries that may result in the department not receiving a clean audit outcome. Commissioner Thobakgale also applauded managers on the notable number of policies that have now been approved, while others are at an advanced stage of the approval process.

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