The Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa handed over revamped amenities to Ba’One Intellectual Disability Centre, in Kuruman, Northern Cape, as part of the departmental community outreach programme. These amenities include a sports field and ablution facility which were refurbished utilizing offender labour, as well as a vegetable garden working in partnership with Old Mutual. Ba’One is a centre that empowers people living with intellectual disability with skills programmes in the arts sector. The centre is managed by retired educators who have been trained in Special Needs Education, and provides various vocational skills including knitting, needlework, woodwork, paper recycling, beading, and leatherwork to mention a few.
Setting the scene, Acting National Commissioner, Makgothi Thobakgale stated that the Department of Correctional Services’ (DCS) involvement in the project is in line with its policies on community upliftment. Although the department is bestowed with the responsibility to cater for inmates and facilitate rehabilitation and reintegration processes, it also extends its services to build safer and secure communities. Commissioner Thobakgale was impressed with the items the learners manufactured, such as chairs made from recycled materials. He further encouraged the centre management to utilize parolees and probationers’ services to maintain the vegetable garden and the sports field.
Deputy Minister Holomisa expressed his gratitude to Old Mutual whose partnership with DCS is premised on the shared belief that learning should take place in an environment that is safe and conducive for excellence in all areas of a learner’s life. Old Mutual donated funds which were used to buy material to build ablution facility. “The learners of this centre have demonstrated that all that our young people need is a little encouragement for their creative abilities to be unleashed,” said Deputy Minister Holomisa.
The department is leveraging on its vast array of skills and extensive network of partners and stakeholders to create safer communities, and to be an agent for social upliftment. Deputy Minister Holomisa commended the Management of Ba’One for the tremendous work they do to protect and promote the rights and interests of vulnerable groups in society.