The essential argument of Sonke’s case is as follows:
- The State is obliged (in accordance with section 7(2) of the Constitution) to create a prison inspectorate with sufficient independence to enable it to function effectively; and
- Presently, JICS lacks the necessary structural and operational independence and legal powers to discharge its functions effectively and maintain credibility.
Therefore Sonke is asking for the following order:
- Chapters IX and X of the Correctional Services Act (which establish JICS and ICCVs, and provide for their functions and powers) violate the State’s constitutional duty to create a sufficiently independent prison inspectorate, and should be declare unconstitutional.
We trust that this case will strengthen JICS’ independence, accessibility, and capacity, to ensure its effectiveness as South Africa’s principal prison oversight body and to safeguard inmates’ human rights.