Pretoria – Correctional Services National Commissioner Tom Moyane has sounded a warning to the department’s young trainees, stressing the importance of strength of character as a prerequisite to working with inmates.
“The task of managing and rehabilitating offenders is a complex one that requires upright officials that cannot be compromised by offenders … Borrowing money, sharing a smoke, asking for favours and engaging in sexual relations with inmates is a dismissable offence in Correctional Services.
“The principles governing the conduct of officials are non-negotiables and breaking them could result in disgraceful dismissal that would shame families and communities from where the trainee comes … Your supreme responsibility is to make South Africa safe,” Moyane said.
He was addressing learners and stakeholders at the department’s Kroonstad College on Friday.
A total of 1 014 learners are currently undergoing training in two Correctional Services colleges and are expected to be deployed in correctional centres across the country by the end of this month.
The trainees constitute the first group of learners to undergo the newly approved curriculum towards the 12-month Further Education and Training Certificate in Correctional Services.
The group started in January 2011, and will complete their three-month theoretical phase of the course by 21 April before their deployment across the country for their experiential learning under mentorship by correctional officials.
Moyane has undertaken to ensure that all learners are security cleared to ensure that any new recruits are beyond reproach.
He said he was confident that the department’s investment of R71 million to recruit and train the learners was a worthy cause that contributed towards President Zuma’s call to create jobs and fight unemployment in South Africa.
“The R71 million investment goes to the provision of a R3 500 stipend to each learner for the 12-month programme … while the rest goes to their general upkeep, training materials and other basic consumables,” Moyane explained.
Of the 1 014 learners, 53% are males and 47% are females. The group also equitably represents the racial demographics of the South African population, including eight recruits with disabilities.
Moyane said the learners would stand a greater chance of being recruited as fulltime correctional officials only if they pass their 12-month training programme that is accredited by the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA).
He also thanked learners for choosing corrections as their career of choice, indicating that efforts were underway to professionalise corrections and establish corrections academies to develop ideal correctional officials.
“The days of Correctional Services being the last buffer between decent lives and poverty are numbered as the department is building corrections as a profession of choice for current and future generations.”
He further urged the learners to use their fresh and innovative ideas to help the department to deliver on the priorities assigned by the Minister of Correctional Services, which include intensifying rehabilitation of offenders through the provision of education and training.
The department will recruit and train more learners to build a pool of skilled candidates from which to employ permanent correctional officials to fill over 10 percent vacancies in Correctional Services. – BuaNews