By Dan Xangaza
All prisoners released on parole long for the day they leave their cold cells behind. But many know there’s no warm and welcoming home waiting for them on the outside. So, instead of being thrown out on the street, the department of correctional services has launched halfway houses for people on early release. The latest addition to these houses, Divine Dawn Home in Bloemspruit, Bloemfontein was officially opened on Friday.
The house is privately owned and rented out to the department to house parolees. Those eligible to stay at the houses include people whose families or relatives are not willing to take them back or those who find themselves without a place to stay due for various reasons.
The department’s COO, Mandla Mkhabela, explained that the house was for offenders who were placed on parole but didn’t have a support system. “Some don’t have a family they can go to. Sometimes their families reject them, or because of long incarceration you will find that their parents have died or moved and they have nowhere to go.
‘The department has to be responsible for them. We cannot release people like doves and not know where they’re going,” he said. Mkhabela said the department now had four halfway houses across Mzansi. Teboho Mahlae (26), a parolee, said: “I would like to thank the department for bringing us here. I regret what I have done and am planning to restart my life.”