In a season often marred by security breaches, the department has implemented strict measures to prevent security lapses in all its 243 correctional centres. Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla led a departmental delegation who converged at Baviaanspoort Management Area on 03 November 2018 to officially launch Operation Vala.. The festive season security campaign entails proactive plans and strategies to prevent escapes and curb assaults in DCS facilities.
In a show of force and to practically demonstrate the department’s ability to deal with security breaches, simulations were done to mimic the Emergency Support Team modes of operations. Operation Vala measures are also aimed at preventing the smuggling of contraband by members of the public.
Makwetla noted that correctional facilities are a microcosm of society. He pointed to the lawlessness and pervasive corruption that permeated all levels of society, which he said reflected the broken state of our communities. He likened DCS as a last line of defence. He said the department is entrusted with the difficult duty to reform social outcasts who are deemed incorrigible and rejected by society. “The extent to which the department succeeds in this mission is the function of the people who are in this department,” he said.
He said South Africa finds itself on the edge of a precipice that requires all law abiding and patriotic citizens to rise up to claim back the country from the clutches of criminals. He amplified the point by citing the words of former President Mandela who said, “It is in our hands”.
Makwetla said South Africa should learn from Botswana’s penal system and the sacred, incorruptible values that their uniformed officials are renowned for. He lauded the department for having managed to massively reduce escapes from custody in the post-democratic era. He however noted that the number of escapees has increased slightly in recent years, and enjoined all officials to reverse this trend. The Deputy Minister acknowledged the human factor as a major contributor to escapes but thanked officials who selflessly execute their duties with integrity and dignity. “This department is the last hope of South Africa in our attempt to getting this country to have communities that have high regard for good, humane ethos and values,” he said.
All regions received funds to purchase indoor games to keep inmates engaged during the festive season.
National Commissioner Arthur Fraser and senior managers from head office and regions graced the occasion. Also in attendance was the head of the Special Investigating Unit, Andy Mothibi, whoattended the launch together with officials from the South African Police Service and the Tshwane Metro Police Department.
The joint JCPS festive season security campaign symbolises the pooling of resources of all law enforcement agencies with the common objective to ensure that all citizens are and feel safe.