Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele says offenders will be doing more to create better schools and communities.
Earlier today (14 May 2013), Minister Ndebele handed over 52 desks refurbished by offenders, as well as 35 computers, to Nozizwe Public School in Stilfontein in the North West.
Delivering his address, Minister Ndebele said: “As the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), we will continue, together with our offenders, to contribute to a decent education thereby making a positive contribution to communities. Therefore, today, we are extremely proud to be handing over 52 desks, refurbished by our inmates, to Nozizwe Public School. We also want to commend our partners, who made contributions towards this initiative. Sun International donated 35 computers, which have already been installed at the school. ABSA Bank, and Oranje Toyota, purchased the material for the refurbishment of the desks. Offender labour is also being utilized to construct, and maintain, schools. Not only does this present offenders with development opportunities, but it also allows them to plough back to the very communities they offended. Working together, we can do more to create better schools and better communities.
“We want to make a special plea to all parents, caregivers and teachers to inculcate positive values of respect, honesty and responsibility in our children. As adults, we are role models for future generations and should act as such. Children learn more from our actions, rather than from what we say. Children will know their rights, and responsibilities, to the extent that we teach them to do so and, to the extent that we create a climate conducive for learning and growing. We must all understand that freedom, and rights, come with corresponding responsibilities. We all need to strengthen relations between schools, communities, government, education stakeholders and partners, business, broader society and other role-players to reduce violence in our schools and communities. Working together, we must instil a strong sense of Ubuntu to preserve lives and eliminate violence, crime and social ills in all their forms.
“From January to March, 282 babies were, with their incarcerated mothers, in correctional centres. As at 30th April, 403 child offenders were in our correctional centres. All these children require care, nurturing and love from their families and communities. As per the White Paper on Corrections, correcting offending behaviour is a societal responsibility where the family unit plays a crucial role. In our quest to ensure the best interests of our children, DCS has established special mother and baby units where children, under the age of two years, are able to live with their mothers. We need strong, and caring, communities to take care of our children. Society, in general, must be steered in the direction of good citizenship. Through our Victim-Offender Dialogues, we want to do our best to keep our people, young and old, from imprisonment,” the Minister said.
Similar projects, undertaken by offenders in other parts of the country, include:
On 13th April, at Mzwilili Junior Primary School in Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal, offenders, and correctional officials, cut the grass and trees, cleared the bush and cleaned the school yard.
- On 26st April, a renovated house was handed over to Christopher Bekisi from Gugulethu, Cape Town who is confined to a wheelchair.
- On 22nd April, a house was handed over to 118-year-old Themba Mkhize in Ezakheni near Ladysmith. The renovations included tiling, re-roofing, installing built-in cupboards, painting and plastering.
- On 18 July 2012, a house was handed over in Naledi, Soweto, where offenders assisted with painting, tiling, gardening and food parcels. The occupant of the house, then 47 years of age, ran away from his family when he was 15-years-old.
- Also, on 18 July 2012, the underprivileged 46-year-old Tsakane Primary School, in Tsakane Township near Brakpan, was given a makeover. Offenders from the Boksburg Correctional Centre repaired desks, installed library shelves and burglar bars, cleaned the school yard, fixed broken classroom windows, painted, did the fencing as well as developed a vegetable garden in order to alleviate severe infrastructural challenges at the school.
- On 16 July 2012, in Mpumalanga Province, the Ezakheni Combined School received a donation of 2,178 kilograms of five types of fresh vegetables planted, and cultivated, by offenders from Piet Retief Correctional Centre; 900 grey trousers manufactured by offenders from Witbank Correctional Centre; 900 white shirts made by offenders from Mogwase Correctional Centre; several pairs of school shoes; and 834 dozen of eggs from Losperfontein Correctional Centre.