The Portfolio Committee on Police has raised various concerns over the implementation of the seven-point plan criminal justice system (CJS) project. The project was intended to electronically enable and integrate the end-to-end criminal justice system process through technology solutions and to manage inter-departmental information exchange across the criminal justice system.
The committee has since inception emphasised the need for an integrated system that will play a significant role in effectively fighting crime in the country. The National Development Plan is clear that for the country to move forward on an economic growth path it must happen in a safe and secure environment. The attainment of these ideals will be anchored on an effective criminal justice system.
The committee raised its discontentment with the fact that there is no clear end point for the project. “It is seemingly a never-ending project with a start date, but no end date yet. There is no tangible progress in implementation of the project, despite significant allocation of funds,” said Mr Francois Beukman, the Chairperson of the committee.
The committee has also called for stronger consequence management to be implemented to ensure proper implementation of the R9-billion project (over a nine-year period). “It is unacceptable that such a significant investment is made and there is no monitoring and evaluation of deliverables. The committee has resolved that the cluster needs to establish a single coordination structure for the implementation of the CJS seven-point plan to ensure the effective delivery of the project.
“It is thus unacceptable that some aspects of the project are not yielding intended fruits, and funds are diverted to buy consumables. Also of concern is that the budget meant for the CJS project has been used to augment budget shortfalls within the South African Police Service,” said Mr Beukman.
Also of concern to the committee is the inability of the cluster to submit quarterly spending reports to National Treasury outlining progress on the project. The committee has called for improved project management to ensure efficiencies and deliverables on the investment made.
The committee is concerned that seven months into the financial year there has been no spending on the CJS project, because the National Treasury has set conditions for the release of the allocation. The committee agrees with the National Treasury that there is need for clear plans with timelines, milestones and deliverables, such as quarterly reports that give an outline of spending.
The committee is of the view that the CJS project should be practical with scanned dockets, body cams to strengthen possibility of conviction and cameras ensuring safety of police stations. The achievement of these practical deliverables depends on having a clear plans and proper project management.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.