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South Africa: Renaming Correctional Centres Part of Transformation
Source: www.sanews.gov.za
Source Date: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Focus: ICT for MDGs
Country: South Africa
Created: Apr 18, 2013

“The adoption of the National Development Plan (NDP) by government, as the vision for the country, encourages us to intensify our efforts in pursuit of public safety.
“The work of the Department of Correctional Services, since the advent of democracy and the White Paper on Corrections, is human rights centred. The White Paper on Corrections calls upon all of us to transform places of incarceration, to centres of hope and second chances,” Ndebele said.
“For example, the name of Qalakabusha Correctional Centre, in KwaZulu-Natal, means a place to start over, or new beginnings, and is largely seen by the community where it is located as such,” the minister added.
To this end, on 15 December 2011, President Zuma officially opened a memorial museum, at the C-Max Correctional Centre, to honour the 134 political prisoners executed at the gallows in Pretoria Central Prison during the apartheid era.
On 30 January this year, Ndebele, as part of Victim-Offender Dialogue Programme, welcomed the survivors of the 1996 Worcester bombing, who arrived in Tshwane by train from Worcester, to meet the youngest bomber, Stefaans Coetzee, on 31 January at the Pretoria Central Correctional Centre.
“On 22 March 2013, we officially performed the symbolic release, from Robben Island, of twelve fallen prisoners, whose remains have been a mystery for more than 40 years.
“This ceremony served to inform the entire nation about the first steps towards the symbolic closure of this painful chapter that was endured by these family members for almost half a century,” he said.
Yesterday, the department honoured Kgosi Mampuru II who was hanged in Pretoria Central Prison on 22 November 1883.
“Through the renaming, we also celebrate how far South Africa has come and what we have achieved under difficult conditions of transition from apartheid to freedom and democracy. These sacrifices of our freedom fighters were not in vain, and we have a responsibility to demonstrate, and celebrate, that fact,” Ndebele said.
“Through their deeds, we are able, today, to enjoy freedom and dignity. It is against this backdrop that we honour these heroes, and heroines, of our country.”
On other matters, the minister said the department was going all out to tackle the most critical challenges that confront it. The management of overcrowding was receiving priority attention, through the Remand Detention Branch as well as the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster.
“Through the Victim-Offender Dialogues, Parole Boards and other structures, we are working hard towards democratization and creating more opportunities for people to join the fight against crime and build a new society.
“We are reinforcing corrections programmes through music, reading for redemption, creative literature, the arts, cultural events, heritage renewal events, sporting events, formal education and acquisition of skills, spiritual growth and self-correcting interventions, among others,” Ndebele said.
From this month, it is compulsory for every inmate, who does not have a qualification equivalent to Grade 9, to complete Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) level 1 to 4, Ndebele said.
“We want offenders to read, study and work. Offender labour is also being utilized to construct and maintain schools.
“We declared 2013 as ‘The Year of the Correctional Official’. As government, we want to raise the status and profile of the correctional official,” he said.
“We are passionate about galvanising understanding for our transformative agenda from prisons to corrections, and preparing offenders to be reintegrated as functional members of society,” Ndebele said.
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