Minister for Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola, announced the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) Grade 12 results for the inmate matric class of 2020 on 25 February 2021 at Leeuwkop Management Area, Gauteng region. The Department celebrated the exploits of the DCS matric learners and teachers who against all odds during the unprecedented year of 2020, still set the bar high with 86.3% pass rate – a marked improvement of 3.7% from the 2019’s accomplishment of 82.6%. The announcement and awards ceremony is held annually to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work of both learners and teachers. Due to the COVID-19 protocol and the new normal, DCS regions celebrated this feat in different locations connecting to the main venue virtually.
Minister Lamola said education is an effective rehabilitation tool and as such, is a fundamental pillar of the correctional system. “In our centres, education must always be structured and used to equip inmates to build social capital so as to improve their well-being whilst incarcerated and post- incarceration, in order to realize a second chance in life,” he said. He also acknowledged that the Department had to adapt to the new normal and continue to mitigate against Covid-19 in the centres, in line with its objective to protect both officials and inmates. The Minister acknowledged the loss of two educators, Mr Michael Johnson and Ms Constance Motlatla[TS1] .
MEC for Education in Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi said the DCS not only deserves praises, but also support for bringing education in correctional facilities and demonstrating that education can take place anywhere, anyhow, as long as there is a will, resources and support for it to prosper. Education offered in the DCS facilities is achieved through partnership and support from both the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).
The school that has achieved the highest pass rate is Usethubeni (Durban – KZN region) followed by Emthonjeni (Baviaanspoort – Gauteng region) and Ekuseni (Waterval in KZN region).
The top performing inmate learner is Lwazi Chamane from Usethubeni in Durban, KZN region, with an average percentage pass rate of 80,6%, followed by Tonny Kamalikoli from St Albans, Eastern Cape region with an average percentage pass rate of 80,1% and Alan Krotz from Brandvlei, Western Cape region with an average pass rate of 79,7%.
Educators were also recognised and awarded for their dedication and sterling job reflected by students’ performance on subjects such as mathematics, physical science, accounting, agricultural science and more.
Chamane appreciated the role his teachers played towards him attaining high marks. He also encouraged other inmates to attend school and take education serious so that they can become better citizens upon their release and contribute positively to society. “When I arrived at the correctional centre, I thought my life was over but DCS educational and rehabilitation programmes have enabled me to have a second chance in life and this is an opportunity I am grasping with both hands,” said Chamane.
CDC Incarceration and Corrections, Mr Makgothi Thobakgale, said the achievement recorded out of the 2020 matric results reflected the collectivism in the work that the DCS does. “We were all faced with Covid-19 conditions, we all had to sit down and devise alternatives to ensure that our offender learners continue to study, and that required all of us to work together,” he said.
Deputy Minister for Justice and Correctional Services, Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa, said the inmate class of 2020 had made the Departments of Correctional Services and Basic Education proud for the quality of results attained under a challenging environment due to Covid-19. He said for rehabilitation to find resonance, education has to be central in DCS programmes. He emphasized that education remained a societal issue which requires everyone to fully participate and take collective responsibility. He encouraged continued partnership between DCS, DBE and Department of Agriculture and Land Reform, with the view to increase the number of inmates who are enrolled for agricultural studies to support DCS’ effort to be self-sufficient in food production.