The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services heard yesterday, in reference to the xenophobia clashes, that anyone who resorts to violence to express their grievances will have to deal with the law and the state is there to uphold the law.
This was the stern warning from Mr Michael Masutha, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, during the political overview of his department. “I urge society to resort to lawful means to resolve issues.” The Department will today brief the Committee on its strategic plan and budget.
Mr Masutha said it was important to establish the underlying challenges causing the violence. He also had g words for political parties that seemed to be encouraging criminal behaviour, such as defacing statues. “I urge society and those political parties, especially those who are represented here in Parliament, that fuel violence through this, to stop. We should be the last to encourage society to resort to violence and to promote anarchy.”
His responses to these issues came after Committee Member Mr Steve Swart expressed concern about it. In talking about some of the challenges facing his department, Mr Masutha said medical parole needs to be re-examined to ensure that fewer natural deaths occurred during incarceration. His department is also evaluating how the medical parole board is constituted and performs its duties.
Mr Masutha also highlighted the transformation of the judiciary, saying that he has 14 applications from one province from aocates to be elevated to senior council status and all of them are white males. Big law firms are still predominately white-owned and they are the ones that get the big cases, which in turn leads to unequal opportunities.
Committee Member Mr Vincent Smith took issue with the amount spent on outsourcing. “It is wrong to outsource security, to spend so much on consultants and contractors. This could have been used to empower the department instead.” He said the state has lost a lot of cases and it must ensure that the service it procures from private legal services is appropriate.
Acting Committee Chairperson Ms Chana Pilane-Majake commended the Minister for the improvements at courts.
Source : Parliament of South Africa