Minister Ronald Lamola visited Brandvlei Management Area on Friday, 28 June 2019, to motivate youth officials and offenders to play an active role in their development and to drive positive change and transformation in correctional services and society at large.
As part of Youth Month celebrations, youth officials and offenders engaged in sport and recreational activities including 10 book clubs, representing various management areas of the Western Cape region, participating in enthralling debate about the role of youth officials in creating an enabling work environment that is conducive for correcting offending behaviour.
Outlining the purpose of his visit, the minister said, “It is important to continuously encourage youth officials and inmates to play an active role to reposition correctional services in society, so that it is seen as a place where people gain skills that they can use to make meaningful economic and social impact in the community”. He urged management to promote open engagement which will enable the infusion of fresh ideas that are required to steer the department to greater heights. He called on youth officials to develop a culture of life-long learning in order to broaden their world perspective.
Minister Lamola also used his maiden visit to a correctional facility, since his appointment, to tour the management area, including the agricultural section, bakery, youth centre and maximum centre. The Minister also unveiled a plaque to mark the official re-launch of revamped state-of-the-art radio and television studios. Broadcasting live from the refurbished Basic Radio studios, Minister Lamola urged offenders to utilise their time in DCS to learn skills and trades that are offered to them, to turn around their lives and become productive citizens when they are released back into their communities.
The Minister stated that effective social reintegration of released offenders into communities is a priority of the current administration. He further said that another important area of focus is to ensure that the many good deeds and stories that are happening in correctional centres are told. He said the system must be cleansed of the isolated misdemeanours that often make headlines. “Correctional Services should not been seen as a breeding ground for criminals,” he said.
The packed programme culminated on a lighter note when Minister Lamola took to the field for a cameo appearance during a soccer match involving youth officials and offenders. The Minister was accompanied by National Commissioner Arthur Fraser, Western Cape Regional Commissioner Delekile Klaas and other senior managers from the region.