Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola says despite the challenging circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the department is working to ensure that it fully delivers and implements its plans for improved service delivery.

He was addressing Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on Tuesday afternoon.

“Despite this harsh terrain and reality, these departments have not folded their arms, they have been innovative where possible to ensure that which can be done, is fulfilled. A testament to this durability is the department referred to as Office of the Chief Justice.

“It is one step closer to obtaining a clean audit, having obtained an unqualified audit outcome with no material findings and has implemented the case lines projected fully in the Gauteng Division. This has ensured that justice can be served even under the most difficult circumstances,” he said.

Lamola also gave the committee an update on what he called the significant re-engineering of the Justice department’s administration.

“We now have a full complement of Senior Management leadership with a new Director General, Advocate [Doctor] Mashabane, who started steering the ship in the latter part of the financial year. An assessment of the skillset of senior management has been concluded along with culture and climate survey.

“The implementation of corrective actions and consequence management under way from the last financial year are continuing, we completed 16 disciplinary hearings cases which relate to maladministration,” Lamola said.

The minister revealed that the department would also be undergoing three reforms:

Modernisation to improve the front-line services, which are provided to South Africans.

Effective State litigation system, which enables transformed and competitive legal profession.

High skilled personnel who can effect reforms to the criminal justice system and tackle corruption.

Minister Lamola told the committee that although much work still needs to be done, the department is on an upward trajectory.

“On the balance… we can see that rapid decline that we found has been arrested. Whilst there is still a lot of work to be done. We have said to the department the upward trend must continue. The department’s performance was previously standing at 43%, having implemented some of the interventions, the Department achieved a performance of 67% in the last financial year.

“The target for the department is to achieve at least 80% of the annual targets by the end of 2021-22 financial year”.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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