Justice Department halts plans for new courts due to budget cut

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THE Department of Justice and Correctional Services has shelved plans for building new courts, due to its budget being cut.

This was one of the measures the department took to cope with the cut, according to Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola.

He was replying to written questions in Parliament by the IFP’s Christian

Themba Msimang.

Msimang asked Lamola what measures his department had implemented “to reconcile the recent budget cuts with the key cost drivers of his department”.

Msimang also wanted to know how the measures were likely to affect services.

The department’s budget for the current financial year was cut by R194 million. A host of other departments and public institutions also had their budgets reduced.

Lamola said that as part of the measures implemented to absorb the cut to its budget, the department “paced down the construction of new courts and prioritised the refurbishment as well as upgrading of existing infrastructure”.

The department also reduced its personnel headcount “by only filling critical vacant posts in order to manage the compensation of employees’ budget within the set budget ceiling”.

Lamola said the department also maintained a negative growth in its allocation for items such as catering, travel and subsistence and venue hire.

In addition, the department reviewed its annual performance plan targets “to focus on high-impact outcomes”.

It also strengthened controls on the management of service providers’ performance to seal expenditure leaks, said Lamola.

He expected some of the measures to have a negative impact on service delivery.

“The measures implemented with regard to compensation of employees are short-term until the economy stabilises,” he said.

“These measures will have a negative impact on service delivery where a reduction in front-line services is implemented.

“Managers are required to put mitigation measures in place to reduce the impact on the public.”

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