Correctional Services to spend R12m on vetting warders....
Apr 12, 2011
The Department of Correctional Services is to spend R12-million on conducting security checks on more than 41 000 prison warders in its employ.
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Correctional Services Minister
Briefing journalists ahead of the tabling of her departmental spending plans in the National Assembly this morning, Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said a “huge number” of those guarding inmates in prisons had not been vetted by the department.
She said her department would this year improve its internal vetting unit, which currently has only eight members of staff and relies heavily on the assistance of the national intelligence agency to do security background checks on officials recruited by correctional services.
“The department will continue with the process of establishing its own vetting field at a cost of R12-million this year.
“The enhancement of our own internal capacity is necessary as we remain concerned that the bulk of our officials are still not vetted at the correct security clearance levels”, said Mapisa-Nqakula.
Her department has often come under fire from parliament’s portfolio committee on correctional services for employing prison warders before conducting security background checks on them.
MPs have often claimed that the poor vetting capacity is one of the reasons corruption is endemic in the department.
Mapisa-Nqakula said her department had adopted a “strong stance against corruption” and would this year clear a backlog of disciplinary cases against officials implicated in cases of corruption. She did not say how much such cases existed in the department.
“We are going to be setting up a dedicated employee relations capacity to advise and process disciplinary cases relating to corruption within the department,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.