(Budget vote debate in Parliament: Correctional Services)
The purpose of a correctional sentence is indeed punishment, but the rehabilitation of offenders, who must take their place in society again, is equally important.
It is, therefore, unacceptable that just 8,6% of the entire budget for Correctional Services is spent on its rehabilitation programme.
This means that unrehabilitated criminals are put back on the streets, while it is a known fact that many criminals who are released from prison return to a life of crime.
So, the fact that the rehabilitation programme is overlooked has a direct impact on everyone in the country.
The Department has a mandate and a duty to live up to its name by helping offenders make a productive contribution to society once again.
And yet the allocation of just 8,6% for rehabilitation is the Department's second lowest.
The issue of persons released on parole relates directly to this.
In its 2021 budget report, the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services voiced its concern about managing the additional 19 000 prisoners who would be released on parole.
The Department was asked to provide the Committee with detailed plans for how community corrections will handle the issue.
Thus far, no answers have been received. The situation is unacceptable, especially in light of the country's high crime levels.
Still, the Department must take note that its budget for the 2024/25 financial year will be cut back, so thorough planning and careful consideration are needed to ensure that the funds are used optimally.
This is a shining example of how the government's misguided priorities are to the detriment of everyone in the country. South Africa and its people deserve better than the ANC.