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South Africa: Department of Correctional Services Changes Lives of Disabled in Honour of Madiba
Source: Issued by: Department of Correctional Services
Source Date: Friday, June 28, 2013
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Institution and HR Management
Country: South Africa
Created: Jun 28, 2013

Commissioner Klaas said the wheelchairs, donated through a joint initiative with Hillsong Africa Foundation, would be handed to disabled people from the communities of Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay, George and Mossel Bay. He was addressing more than 1000 members of the community, including various denominations, at the Beaufort West Show grounds.

Southern Cape Area Commissioner, Ms Ndileka Booi, reminded the community that “rehabilitation is a societal responsibility. We need to stop stigmatising rehabilitated ex-offenders when they are released into their communities.”

“We also appeal to the private sector to provide employment to all offenders upon their release in order to break the cycle of repeat crime. In most instances we have realised that these ex-offenders often choose to return to .incarceration simply because their communities refuse to accept and forgive them for previous transgressions,” Ms Booi said.

Commissioner Klaas appealed to the community to work with the Department of Correctional Services in the fight against crime. He reminded the audience that it was very important for the ex-offenders to be successfully reintegrated into their communities as they have originally come from these communities.

He took the moment to commend the men and women in brown, adding that very few people had the characteristics requisite for success in the field of corrections. Correctional Officials are trained and immersed in an environment that demands them to remain alert and conscious of any potential dangers as they often found themselves among people who had been declared a danger to society.

Correctional officials often have to handle their own stress of standing on watch for lengthy hours in an institutionalised environment. “When fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers leave to work in correctional centres in the morning, most family members are not certain whether they will return home safely or receive the gruesome news that they will never see them again.”

He called on all correctional officials to desist from becoming entwined in temptations of collaborating with offenders, which often leads to accepting bribes for carrying out illegal chores such as drug and weapons smuggling.

Correctional Officials are called upon to display an astute and exemplary character and conduct their work with excellence and always be principled and treat all those in their care with dignity and not judge them. “From these men and women we expect nothing but integrity, honesty and sound work practices, a willingness to adhere to the departmental code of conduct,” Commissioner Klaas said.

The event was also attended by other members of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster such as the South African Police Services (SAPS). Colonel Lionel Kennedy said it is of utmost importance that the community works with government in fighting crime.

“It is over and over proven that most of the priority crimes committed are committed by repeat offenders. All of us must play our part in the prevention of crime just by playing our respective roles,” Colonel Kennedy said.

Western Cape Regional Commissioner Delekile Klaas hands over 54 wheelchairs to the disabled during a handover ceremony at the Show Grounds in Beaufort West yesterday.
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