In heeding the call by Minister Ronald Lamola for correctional facilities to produce cloth face masks in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, Boksburg Management Area has produced over 2 000 masks.
Towards prevention of the rapid spread of the virus inside correctional centres, Boksburg production workshop, textile division team of 16 offenders and five (5) officials headed by Mr. Simon Segaole, started mass production of cloth face masks on 15 April 2020. To date, 1 800 masks have already been delivered to various centres.
The workshop produces 500 units a day, of three ply fabric face masks, as per specifications of the Department of Health. “The masks are also washable and our plan is to produce two masks per inmate and later expand the production towards other management areas,” said Segaole.
Sewing machines and work stations are disinfected daily with sanitizers, and officials ensure that inmates observe social distancing and other precautionary measures.
Zwelakhe Petrus Mgidi, who is serving 12 years’ imprisonment for arson and attempted murder, said he is honoured to be part of a team of inmates who are serving the country and making a positive contribution towards the fight against the spread of the coronavirus inside correctional centres. He said the production of masks will ensure that offenders are safe. “We always observe the safety protocols every morning by washing our hands and disinfecting and sanitizing our machines and work stations before we start working,” said Mgidi.
The Management Area also roped in Leribe Training Solutions, a service provider that offers offenders accredited skills development training programmes in clothing manufacturing and crafting of furniture. Twenty (20) offenders received training on the clothing manufacturing programme. They will utilize their skills in reinforcing the mass production of masks for inmates, and their goal is to produce 2 000 cloth face masks for officials as well.
Through their creativity, the production workshop team also manufactured a hand sanitizing dispenser that operates with a foot peddle. Each individual simply places their foot on the peddle, and the sanitizer is activated. This initiative prevents one from touching the sanitizer bottle by hand. This is another way to help prevent the spread of the virus inside a correctional facility.