/ 29 May 2013

Radebe: Prisons are full, stop complaining about NPA

Radebe: Prisons Are Full, Stop Complaining About Npa

Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Radebe said he was basing his view on the fact that courts were busy and prisons were overcrowded.

"I am satisfied that they are doing a good job," he said, responding to a question from a journalist on Wednesday morning.

"If you look at the number of people that our courts convict on a daily basis, you look at the number of prisoners who are in our courts; there's a complaint that there is overcrowding in our prisons, people don't volunteer to go to prison.

"It's because we have got energetic prosecutors at all levels who prosecute without fear, favour or prejudice. That's why I say I'm satisfied," he said.

Radebe said the few cases cited by the journalist, when the National Prosecuting Authority hadn't been successful – Carl Pistorius, Anene Booysen, J Arthur Brown and Glynnis Breytenbach – were insignificant compared to thousands of cases that the NPA succeeded with in courts.

He reacted angrily when another journalist said that it was "nonsensical" to suggest that overcrowding was a result of the NPA's good work; pointing out that this was due to the long-waiting period for cases to come to trial.

"The nonsense you are talking about is with you, not with the system," retorted Radebe.

New National Director of Public Prosecutions
Radebe said President Jacob Zuma was dealing with the appointment of a new National Director of Public Prosecutions. The NPA has been under an acting head, Nomgcobo Jiba, since December 2011.

Meanwhile, the government has appointed companies to assess the impact of the Constitutional Court judgments. But it did say who these companies are.

The director general for justice and constitutional development, Nonkululeko Sindane, told journalists that work will start soon on the assessment.

Procurement for the assessment of the decisions of the Constitutional Court has been completed, organisations appointed and the work will start soon, with a preliminary report expected in March 2014, Sindane said.

Adding that as soon as they have communicated with the people who responded to the tender, the names of the successful bidders will then be published.

Radebe announced last February that the assessment would be an in-depth research focused on realistic solutions and not on academic and curriculum advancement, which some of the universities' projects mainly seek to achieve. 

'Holistic approach to the transformation'
When the Cabinet approved the assessment, he said, it did so with the aim of fundamentally reforming the administration of justice.

"Therefore the assessment should not be seen in isolation, but as part of a holistic approach to the transformation of the judicial system in line with the values of the Constitution."

The recommendations should help achieve transformation goals and nourish our constitutional democracy, Radebe said.

The assessors will undertake a comprehensive analysis of the impact of the decisions of the Constitutional Court, since the inception of the court, and how its decisions have impacted the socio-economic conditions of South African citizens.