Pretoria: Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele will today hand over wheelchairs in Bloemfontein in the Free State, where the department will host a prayer service as part of nation building.
Seventy wheelchairs will be donated to Boikhuco Old Age Centre in Mangaung, while 20 will be donated in the Northern Cape province. Nine wheelchairs will be given to parolees and one wheelchair to a child from Welkom.
Over the past year, in partnership with the Hillsong Africa Foundation, the department donated more than 300 wheelchairs across the country.
Ndebele said the department was enabling offenders, as part of their rehabilitation programme, to give back to communities. This, he said, was aimed at promoting restorative justice.
“The handing over of these wheelchairs, donated by the Hillsong Africa Foundation and assembled by offenders, is part of many interventions by the department across the country.
“One of the primary missions of corrections is to develop and implement correctional programmes that balance the concepts of deterrence, incapacitation and rehabilitation for individuals in correctional facilities.
“At least 95% of those in custody will return to society. Every offender must leave our facilities with a skill in one hand, and a certificate in the other hand,” he said.
Ndebele said the department has various offender rehabilitation programmes that focus on restorative justice, skilling, training, reading and offender reintegration.
“Our inmates are visible at schools, discouraging young people from getting involved in drugs and crime. Offender labour is being used to refurbish desks, and build schools.
“The department has adopted 150 schools countrywide. We also support numerous orphanages by donating surplus food produced on our correctional centre farms.
“Offenders have been building and continue to build homes for destitute families. We are proud of the contribution that the majority of inmates, together with our correctional officials, are making in rebuilding our country. Every effort counts,” said the minister.