Correctional Services National Commissioner Tom Moyane says it will cost R71 million to train some 1014 new prison warders. The aspirants are currently undergoing training at two Correctional Services colleges and are expected to be deployed in correctional centres across the country by the end of this month.
“The R71 million investment goes to the provision of a R3500 stipend to each learner for the 12-month programme … while the rest goes to their general upkeep, training materials and other basic consumables,” Moyane said at one of the colleges, in Kroonstad, on Friday.
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 department says. The group started training in January and will complete their three-month theoretical phase this Thursday. Next follows their deployment across the country for 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, the state BuaNews agency reported.
He said he was confident that the department’s investment 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”. Of the learners, 53% are male and 47% are women. 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 the trainees 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, BuaNews said.
“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 warders “to build a pool of skilled candidates from which to employ permanent correctional officials to fill vacancies in the department, which currently stands at 10%.
Moyane last month said that as part of its five year strategic plan, the department would make significant improvements in strengthening internal controls and improve rates of conviction of officials charged for fraud and corruption from 84% to 92% by 2015/16. He said to strengthen internal controls no major expenditure will be undertaken on any project without a proper business case to avoid historical pitfalls of hasty decisions to expend significant funds on poorly thought through projects.
The department has also committed to ensure that over 16 500 additional bed spaces are delivered within the next five years with 12 000 coming from four PPP correctional centres and several smaller projects of revamping the existing old facilities planned to be finalised within five years.