Thousand plus new Correctional Services officials appointed

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South Africa’s prison population, said to number over 157 000, will have an extra 1 003 “correctional officials” to ensure effective prisoner management.

On 10 April, Makgothi Thobakgale, Department of Correctional Services (DCS) National Commissioner, said the 1 003 “learners” have been appointed and will take up duties in the 2024/25 financial year.

A DCS statement has it the newcomers are “a demonstration of government’s foremost priority of creating opportunities for young people and supporting them to access work opportunities”.

Ahead of being appointed, the new officials were part of a 12 month Correctional Services learnership course at NQF (National Qualifications Framework) level four. Apart from class and lecture room work, they were also hands-on with practical training at Correctional Services facilities. On completion of training they were employed on a contract basis as auxiliary support officials with permanent appointments – in line with qualification criteria – effective 1 April this year, the statement said.

It quotes Thobakgale saying the appointments will “go a long way to strengthen security in correctional centres and ensure more boots on the ground”.

“This serves as a direct response to contributing to a just, peaceful and safer South Africa through effective and humane incarceration and the rehabilitation and social reintegration of inmates.”

The new officials are deployed across all nine provinces and eight at Correctional Services head office in Pretoria. Numbers-wise, Western Cape Correctional Services facilities gained the most with 466 new members. Other provincial staffing needs sees 214 going to the KwaZulu-Natal province; 107 to the Eastern Cape province; 75 shared between the Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces; 69 between the Free State and Northern Cape provinces, and 64 to the Gauteng province.