Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa presided over the reopening of Ngqamakhwe Correctional Centre in the Eastern Cape region, on Monday (16 November 2020).
The Deputy Minister said that it remained critical for Correctional Services to build capacity in order to effectively manage and maintain its facilities through improved organisational structures and processes, infrastructure upgrades and support for programmes in order to improve inmate productivity and rehabilitation. “The amount of work done here is more than just an upgrade of a correctional facility. This centre symbolises government’s unwavering commitment to the rule of law and a firm demonstration of our resolve to create a safer society by creating an enabling environment for those in conflict with the law to be corrected,” said Deputy Minister Holomisa.
Ngqamakhwe Correctional Centre previously housed offenders with sentences ranging from 24 months and below, due to its state as it was dilapidated and did not have sufficient security.
“Today is an exciting day for the Department as we are showcasing that government in this country is working and delivering. Notwithstanding the budgetary constraints, we have been doing what we can to improve the conditions in which inmates are housed in,” remarked National Commissioner, Mr. Arthur Fraser.
The repair and upgrade of Ngqamakhwe Correctional Centre was intended to provide a facility in line with current standards and norms, and to enable the Department to fulfil its constitutional mandate of ensuring the safe and secure detention and accommodation of offenders.
Eastern Cape MEC for Human Settlements Nonkqubela Pieters, who was also present, paid tribute to the officials and inmates who have passed on due to COVID-19. She emphasised the need for families to go back to basics in terms of moral regeneration in order to reduce the burden of overcrowding in correctional centres. She was speaking on behalf of the Premier of the Eastern Cape, Mr Lubabalo Mabuyane.
The approved accommodation was 39 bed spaces, but has increased to 51 since renovations have taken place. The facility is currently classified as a Medium Centre, housing offenders serving sentences of 10 up to 15 years.
The centre has been earmarked as one of the self-sufficiency projects for the region. A garden has been ploughed for planting vegetables to provide for offender nutrition at the facility. The aim of the project is also to donate surplus vegetables to impoverished families in the community.