On 22 June 2022, Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa officially launched a Youth Empowerment Initiative that is aimed to uplift and draw more young people of Amakhaya in Mkhondo Local Municipality, under Bethal Management Area to participate in the economic development of the area and alleviate poverty.
On this day, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Madabukela Traditional Council wherein 50 hectares of land was donated to DCS, which will assist the department to enhance its Self-Sufficiency and Sustainability Framework (SSSF). Another 25 hectares of land was handed over to a selected youth from Amakhaya as part of the Youth Empowerment Initiative, to gain skills in farming. This life changing event coincides with the Youth Month, June, which is celebrated yearly to commemorate the 1976 Soweto Youth Uprising.
On behalf of the acting National Commissioner, Makgothi Thobakgale, Chief Deputy Commissioner (CDC): Remand Detention, Anna Molepo outlined the purpose of the initiative by expounding on various community outreach programmes conducted by the department, including programmes on reintegration, food security and use of offender labour amongst others. She further assured members of the Madabukela Traditional Council and community members that DCS will use its own resources to farm both pieces of land, with the assistance of parolees and probationers who will be using their farming skills acquired during their incarceration. “Parolees and probationers will have to assist with creating and maintaining farming projects that will provide food for the community and further impart their skills” said CDC Molepo in her opening remarks.
Deputy Minister Holomisa was pleased to see the collaboration between DCS, Mkhondo Local Municipality, which falls under Gert Sibande District and the Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development. He encouraged a continuous stakeholder relation and stated that it is pertinent for government departments and the private sector to work together in order to enhance better service delivery to the communities. He further expressed his appreciation to the Madabukela Traditional Council for their commitment to partner with DCS to empower the unemployed youth and alleviate poverty and most importantly to contribute to the economic development of the area.
Inkosi Bhekizizwe Mthethwa of the Madabukela Traditional Council, assured Deputy Minister Holomisa that the vegetable garden will be well looked after by the community. The selected youth are receiving training on farming skills offered by the Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development. “This Youth Empowerment Initiative is not only for us, but it will benefit future generations of this community, if we all work together.” said Inkosi Mthethwa.