Justice and Correctional Services Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla on Tuesday visited Witbank Correctional Centre to interact with inmates and their families as part of the rehabilitation of offenders.
The Deputy Minister’s visit formed part of the broader National Imbizo Focus Week, where government officials spend time with communities to listen to their concerns. It’s also an opportunity for the officials to explain government’s programme of action to citizens.
Deputy Minister Makwetla’s visit to the correctional facility in Mpumalanga gave offenders an opportunity to raise their concerns about their sentences, parole and problems faced by ex-convicts in getting employment.
Some of the inmates had concerns about the lack of study facilities at the centre and the interpretation of their sentences.
Deputy Minister Makwetla said his department will ensure that these concerns are addressed, as his department strives to rebuild society through effective correctional services.
Ex-convicts and parolees were also present at the meeting with the Deputy Minister. They were most concerned about having a criminal record and how this makes it impossible for them to secure employment.
The Deputy Minister said the department will try to find a way to help them, as “criminal records should not be used to deny ex-convicts [a chance to] secure employment”.
Department officials also assured inmates that they will help to make educational facilities more readily accessible so they can write their exams.
The imbizo started with a tour at a factory situated inside the Witbank Correctional Centre where inmates manufacture shoes and uniforms, which are supplied to other correctional centres throughout the country.
From the centre, Deputy Minister Makwetla and his delegation proceeded to a taxi rank to interact with commuters. They also handed out leaflets containing information about government services. – SAnews.gov.za
Source : SAnews.gov.za