Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, says government’s foremost priority of creating opportunities for young people and supporting them to access work opportunities has been demonstrated through the recruitment of the 1 068 new correctional officials.
Addressing the welcoming ceremony for the new recruits who were part of the 2019/20 learnership programme at the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), the Minister said government remains committed to investing and empowering young people economically.
The 1 068 new recruits will commence their duties on Monday and they are a second group of learners to be absorbed following the absorption of the first group of 923 learners in June this year.
Since the inception of the Correctional Services Learnership Programme in 2010, a total of just over 10 000 young people comprising of 4 542 females and 5 488 males were trained.
“A total of 10 015 of these learners were permanently appointed into security positions, only 15 learners were not appointed due to criminal records and natural attrition. We have set ourselves an annual target of 20% for youth employment, we will ensure that the department achieves this target. We will spare no effort to tackle inequalities and systemic barriers which are still prevalent in the country,” Lamola said.
The Minister said government has committed itself to effective and humane incarceration where inmates are rehabilitated so that they can return to make a full contribution in their communities.
“This is a complicated mandate as we all know that reforming the character of a person is extraordinary difficult. This says that your job will very difficult, but it must still be done, day in and day out, in a humane and respectful way.
“It demands compassion and skill in discerning the character of others, and firmness – in short, it requires men and women willing to combine public service with the highest standards of care for those in custody,” Lamola said.
He said only a correctional system with humanity and respect at its core will deliver rehabilitation.
“Being a correctional official is a tough job. It requires dedication, professionalism, resilience, courage and a belief that people can change. However, this work plays a vital role in protecting the public and protecting victims from prolonged harm.
“What is expected of you is adherence to the highest standard of professionalism in your line of duty and ensuring that sentences determined by our courts are served by inmates,” the Minister said.
With challenges of smuggling of contrabands and gangsterism at correctional facilities, the Minister warned the new recruits against committing corruption.
“I need you to understand that there are no short-cuts in life. You will not get rich through corruption. When you serve in your new roles, you will certainly face your fair share of challenges. You will not build your community through corruption. You will not inspire future generations. On the contrary, you will be amongst those in orange overalls in our facilities,” the Minister said.
Source: South African Government News Agency