By Thabo Monyela
TZANEEN- Minister Ronald Lamola officially unveiled the 16th New Generation Correctional Centre in Tzaneen yesterday.
After 10 years of construction, the minister of justice and correctional services Hon. Ronald Lamola officially unveiled the 16th New Generation Correctional Centre that has the capacity of 501and is equipped with advanced technology which will allow offenders to acquire skills. The centre will houses medium classified offenders serving sentences up to 15 years.
The minister was joined by few dignitaries ranging from the national and local levels such like national Commissioner Mr Arthur Fraser, Deputy minister of Public works and infrastructure Noxolo Kiviet , GTM mayor Cllr Maripe Mangena, Judge President Ephraim Makgoba and all Surrounding traditional leaders.
Judge President Makgoba in his address praised all the departments involved in establishing such a dignified facility that with no doubt will rehabilitate the offenders. “I will be glad to send more offenders to this dignified centre ” Judge President jokingly said.
Tzaneen Correctional centre is a facility that brings about the dignity of the offenders and this facility is an epitome of the government trying to address the apartheid institutional injustices.
The Deputy minister of Public works and infrastructure mentioned that, the completion of this project was largely influenced by the President Ramaphosa’s clarion call to finish all the infrastructures on budget and on time and she futher said these infrastructures will help in job creation.
The Minister Lamola in his address firstly congratulated Hosi Dr Nwamitwa for being honored with Doctarate by University of South Africa (UNISA).
It is the view of the minister that the officials of Tzaneen Correctional centre be housed within the facility and urged the Deputy Minister of Public works and infrastructure to honour her promise and it should not take 10 years.
The minister announced that the centre will offer the following study programme to the inmates: Adults education training from level 1 to 4, Tvet college programmes such as engineering studies from N1 to N3 and Skills training programme such like woodworks, electrical welding, basic computer skills, motor and diesel Mechanics, fruits and vegetables training, Farm business management and pests control.
The minister urged the executives of the Greater Tzaneen Municipality to use the offender labours to do public works and this would enable them to show their skills outside the Correctional centre. “The offender labour has produced 352 000 of surgical masks so far,” the minister said. He further said, those who wish to pursue University studies are encouraged to do and further detailed that is not the department that will be paying the tuition fees but the inmates families or through sponsorship programs. “Our role is to create a conducive learning environment, not paying fees” Lamola stated.
Since the high rate of crime is too high, part of the challenges faced is overcrowding, Tzaneen Correctional centre has contributed to the reduction of overcrowding in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North west regions.
“Before the opening of this centre, overcrowding stood at 65% and has now been reduced to 13%, Which is below the national average of 15.9% ” the outspoken minister said.
The minister acknowledged the good ambassadors of the parole system like Jub Jub Maarohanye, Bless Ngobeni (International artist) and Israel Makoe ( an actor).
The minister in closure warned those who violate women and those who do heinous crimes that Tzaneen Correctional centre will be their home.