Office of Chief Justice tightlipped after it was hacked

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The Office of the Chief Justice was hacked.
The Office of the Chief Justice was hacked.
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  • The Office of the Chief Justice was hacked in September.
  • It does not want to provide information on this while the authorities are investigating.
  • The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services is concerned about the performance of the Department of Justice.

The Office of the Chief Justice was hacked in September, but its secretary-general, Memme Sejosengwe, prefers not to divulge too much information at this stage.

On Tuesday, Sejosengwe informed the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services the office's information technology systems had been breached in September.

She said the state's law enforcement agencies were investigating and asked the committee not to discuss it further until that investigation was completed.

The ACDP's Steve Swart nonetheless wanted more details.

READ | 3 arrested for conspiracy to hack Sassa system

Sejosengwe said it happened on 19 September and assured the committee it would be briefed about the matter once the investigation was completed.

"I seek the indulgence of the committee."

She was not further pressed on the matter, but one of the officials said at the time of the breach, the whole network had to be switched off.

In March 2017, 15 computers were stolen from the Office of the Chief Justice in Midrand.

Sejosengwe said the police have closed this case. It remains unsolved.

Earlier on Tuesday, the committee expressed grave concern at the "declining performance" of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and described the performance as dismal after it briefed the committee on its fourth-quarter performance for 2019/20 and its first-quarter performance for 2020/21.

Challenges

The committee resolved it would consider requesting the assistance of the Public Service Commission to address the department's poor performance and systematic challenges to improve the situation.

The department has a vacancy rate of 23.4% at senior management level.

The committee said the department could not complain about proposed budget cuts and then continue to miss targets and underspend on its budget. The department reported approximately R1.2 billion in irregular expenditure and underspent by R757 million.

"We cannot in good conscious support that you should not have budget cuts when you are not able to spend the money that is given to you," said committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe.

"The department must remember that for us these are not just numbers and targets, but rather the lives of the people we represent.

"You have many entities in your stable that has been improving year-on-year and some have had consistent clean audits for close to two decades," Magwanishe added, according to a statement released after the meeting.

"Why are you requesting help? We need a serious intervention as this committee does not intend to leave a legacy of supporting a declining performance in the department and be party to your failure." 

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