Although inclusion is crucial in organisations throughout, the month of November offers a deliberate focus on efforts of removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all. The DCS as an employer has a responsibility to drive equity, equality and ensure improvement in the quality of life of people with disabilities within the workplace. Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical impairments just like Mr Joseph Linda Nkotha from Boksburg Management area, who has mobility impairment in both legs. His disability limits him when it comes to his mobility which with various barriers may hinder his full and effective participation as a correctional official on an equal basis with others.
When he was growing up in Vosloorus, in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, Mr Nkotha used to admire correctional officials in their uniform. “I use to look up to correctional officials in their uniform during my schooling days. I always had this burning desire to know more about the Department of Correctional Services and once I knew what it stood for I fell in love with its responsibilities. I wanted to play my part in the rehabilitation of offenders,” said the soft spoken Nkotha.
When he joined the Department in 1999 he did not want his colleagues to pity him because of his disability. He wanted to be treated equally and worked hard to be the best at what he does. “My colleagues are very supportive and they have accepted me as I am. I do get that uncomfortable stare from people sometimes but I have made peace with that,” he said
Before he moved to the Area Commissioner’s office as an Administrative Secretary, Mr Nkotha was working in the investigation office. He used to warn and give advice to Juvenile offenders more especially those who were from poverty stricken families, that they must not allow their situation to distract them. His day to day tasks as an Administrative Secretary amongst others include general administrative functions, handling of incoming and outgoing correspondences, provision of logistical support to the Area Commissioner and maintaining an efficient filing system for the office.
His message to people who are living with disabilities is that they should not allow stigmatisation to pull them down. He encourages them to love and accept themselves first before they expect to be accepted by others. He further emphasized the importance of education and studying further. Mr Nkotha holds a Diploma in Computer Science, a short term qualification in hiring and placement from UNISA and he is currently finalising his National Diploma in Human Resources Management.