25 February 2013
The South African government plans to publish the names and details of those officials convicted of corruption in pamphlets, newspapers and radio advertisements, says Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe.
Radebe was speaking during a media briefing by the government’s justice, crime prevention and security cluster in Pretoria on Sunday.
Radebe said freezing orders and forfeitures, which were also public knowledge, would also be published.
“We want to ensure that the public is conscious about what has happened, because sometimes when people talk about corruption, when we say ’32 people have been convicted’, it’s just a number. But if you can attach a number to actual persons, you will understand that this fight against corruption, we do it in a very meaningful way.”
Anti-corruption task team shows results
Radebe said that since the setting up of the anti-corruption task team in 2010, 237 people had been arrested. Of these, 32 people had been convicted and two acquitted, while the cases of the remaining 203 accused were still before court.
The criminal assets of 59 persons to the value of R816-million had been frozen, with nearly R78-million in assets already forfeited and returned to the state, he said.
The task team had also recovered three farms valued at a total of R59-million which were lost through corruption. Another five farms worth a collective R74-million had been frozen and would be recovered soon.
Radebe said good progress had been made with the national government’s intervention in Limpopo, and that the task team was investigating 39 criminal cases involving fraud and corruption – including those involving 29 persons and four companies.
He said 87 people were alleged to have benefited to the value of more than R5-million from corrupt activities, and freezing orders had been obtained against 32 people.
Radebe said the use of freezing orders was an important weapon to prevent those involved in corruption from benefiting from their ill-gotten gains while their cases were being finalised.
Tackling cyber crime
The government is also stepping up measures to address cyber-attacks. Radebe said an announcement would be made soon on the implementation of the National Cybersecurity Policy Framework.
He said that, since last year up to December, 113 cases of cybercrime had been finalised – with 83% of these cases resulting in a conviction.
A total of 40 investigators at the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation unit have been trained in detecting cybercrime, and at the end of the third quarter last year 60% of identified cyber threats had been addressed.
Electronic tags for parolees
Radebe said the Department of Correctional Service’s pilot project involving the use of electronic tags on those out on parole – which commenced in February last year – had been a success.
The department is now looking into extending the use of electronic tags to other categories of offenders, including those serving custodial sentences.
He added that from 1 April, it would be compulsory for every inmate who was without a qualification equivalent to Grade 9 to complete a training course equivalent to an Adult Education and Training (AET) course of between level one and four.
The training is part of a drive by the government to rehabilitate inmates and equip them with skills so that they can have a better chance of returning successfully into society after being released.
Electronic case management system
Radebe said applicants would soon be able to lodge cases electronically, while prosecutors and defence lawyers would be able to receive real-time updates on cases, with the expected rolling out of an electronic case management system this year.
The department aims to roll out the integrated solution at more than 20 sites by the end of this year and to a further 100 sites by the end of next year, the minister said.
The system was integrated with police systems earlier this month to provide instant messaging and case details to process clerks.
Once it is fully up and running, the system will allow electronic charge sheets to be lodged and cases to be enrolled electronically, which will automatically create an electronic court roll at the Department of Justice.
Radebe said the backlog of cases had been brought down from 34 926 or 17.4% of all cases as at the end of March last year, to 29 604 or 16.2% of all cases by the end of December.
Turning to violence against women and children, Radebe said that since the re- establishment of Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit in 2010, 695 life imprisonment sentences had been handed down, while prison sentences totaling over 36 000 years had been handed down.
Across the country the unit now has 176 offices attached to police clusters, he said.
Forensic social workers had been appointed who would assist the police with investigating crimes against children and provide expert evidence court.
Radebe urged community members to come forward and report crimes of violence against women and children.