An amount of R12.8 billion has been allocated to the departments of police, justice, correctional services and the Independent Complaints Directorate, to help the police in their fight against crime, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday.
Delivering his 2011/12 Budget speech in the National Assembly, he said reducing crime continued to be one of government’s top priorities.
“Over the medium term, additional funds are provided to bring down crime levels, clear court case backlogs, and integrate criminal justice information systems,” Gordhan told MPs.
He said a total of R4.7 billion from efficiency savings and delayed spending on building prisons, had been moved to cater for other priorities in the cluster.
These included the building of courts; upgrading of information technology infrastructure; adding personnel to boost visible policing, detective services and crime intelligence; and promoting access to justice.
Gordhan said provinces were projected to spend an additional R203 million on community safety.
An amount of R2.1 billion had been set aside to increase police personnel to 202,260 in 2013/14, from about 190,000 at present.
“These staff increases will support more visible policing and detective and crime intelligence services.”
An additional R140 million had been allocated to strengthen about 20 tactical response teams, and to establish an effective personnel vetting structure for criminal intelligence services.
The Financial Intelligence Centre would receive an additional allocation of R100 million.
The Special Investigating Unit would receive an additional R45 million to support “greater investigating capacity”, Gordhan said. “[This is] to allow the unit to employ an additional 49 investigators, bringing the total to 669 by 2013/14.”
An additional R490 million had been allocated for the building of courts, including new high courts in Nelspruit and Polokwane. This would bring the total number of high courts to 16.
Some R243 million had been allocated for operational costs of three correctional facilities currently being upgraded.
The facilities would eventually house a further 1,883 inmates.
An additional R670 million has been allocated for the upgrade of information technology infrastructure.
“The criminal justice system requires modern, integrated systems to co-ordinate work across agencies, and to track persons and cases,” said Gordhan.
Personnel costs, including salary adjustments and occupation-specific dispensations, were the major cost drivers in the safety cluster.
“Over the MTEF [medium-term expenditure framework] period, the public order and safety budget increases by 15% — from R90.9 billion in 2011/12, to R104.6 billion in 2013/14,” he said.