Now that the National Budget has been presented, it’s individual Departments’ turn to present their budgets. Shukumisa has been invited to comment on the Department of Justice’s Budget. We’ll be focusing on the Thuthuzela Care Centres and specialised sexual offences courts.
- The epidemic nature of sexual offences in South Africa and the need to combat these crimes as a matter of priority is well recognised.
- However, the policy framework addressing sexual offences is inadequate. Policies on the DoJ&CD and NPA’s responses, the sexual offences courts and TCCs, are absent altogether.
- This has resulted in the reversal of policy decisions over the years, inconsistencies and inadequacies in responses, as well as insufficient budgeting and operational planning.
- Statistics on the performance of the CJS in relation to sexual offences are limited. It is thus difficult to assess the impact of the changed legislative and policy framework
- The absence of concrete, detailed planning to address sexual offences throughout DoJ&CD and NPA strategies makes it unlikely that effective prioritisation can be achieved in practice.
- There is hidden subsidisation of the CJS response to sexual offences by CSOs. This includes that some CSOs are not compensated for the services they provide in the TCCs. In the current economic climate, this will lead to the disappearance of these services as NGOs are forced to close or reduce their services.
- It is crucial that the DoJ&CD consult in a meaningful manner with NGOs providing these services around the development of policies and operational plans addressing sexual offences.
- We propose the revision of the Draft National Policy Framework (NPF) to address the range of policy gaps in the DoJ&CD response to sexual offences, including detailed description of the duties and obligations imposed upon all role players in managing sexual offences.
- We recommend the development of comprehensive policy around the prosecution of sexual offences generally and not only in relation to sexual offences courts.
- We recommend that the Portfiolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development undertake a number of essential activities to strengthen oversight of the implementation of legislation and policy.
Download our full submissision here (Adobe pdf)