Minister of justice and correctional services Ronald Lamola officially opening the Tzaneen Correctional Services flanked by deputy minister of public works Noxolo Kiviet and mayor of Tzaneen Maripe Mangena.
Lamola said there are plans for the construction of staff facilities that will house officials working at the centre to ensure that they can do their work with ease. The deputy minister of public works and infrastructure Noxolo Kiviet assured the minister that her department will fast track the process. Lamola said new generation correctional centres are aimed at facilitating skills transfer to the inmates to enable their effective rehabilitation.“Experience has taught us that inmates must acquire skills that will equip them for the future outside our centres. These new generation of correctional centres equip inmates with skills in high demand.
“The Tzaneen centre will transfer these skills to inmates, hopefully they will take advantage of these training opportunities and become better persons upon their release,” he said.
Programmes offered at the correctional centre include adult education training from level one to four, TVET college programmes, engineering studies from level N1 to N3, skills training programmes, woodwork, electrical, welding, basic computer skills, motor or diesel mechanics, fruit and vegetable production, farm business management and pest control.
He told the mayor of Tzaneen that the inmates are labour that is available at the disposal of the municipality, including the provincial department of public works.
“It is not a violation of human rights for the inmates to go and work in the public,” he said.
He said when these inmates do community work, the public will see them repaying for their offending behaviour. He addressed the issue of overcrowding in South African prisons and said the Tzaneen Correctional Centre has already contributed in the reduction of overcrowding in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West provinces.
“Before the opening of the centre overcrowding in the region stood at 65% and has since been significantly reduced to 13%. “Overcrowding poses a risk to both officials and inmates and has a negative impact on our rehabilitation programmes and also stretches our resources to the brink of collapse,” he said.
The DCS will be opening newly built centres across the country as part of its efforts of reducing overcrowding and enabling effective rehabilitation of inmates.