Offenders revamp Bushbuckridge school sports field

Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Ronald Lamola, is expected to hand over a sports field revamped by offender labour to Mchaka High School in Bushbuckridge on Friday.

“Some of the renowned sport icons were identified at school sport tournaments. It is our hope that our work of developing sport fields will revive the vibrant school sport culture and yield more champions,” Lamola said.

The department said the field was revamped and developed for the school by offender labour, and will cater for sports such as football and netball for children in the area.

Entertainment company Mutlichoice also partnered with the Minister to provide much needed resources for the sports field upgrade.

“Minister Lamola has often lamented the poor sporting infrastructure in public schools, which deny young people opportunities to take part in sport.

“To mitigate this challenge, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has utilised offender labour to develop and revamp sporting infrastructure at schools.

“This has resulted in some schools in Gauteng, Western Cape and Northern Cape boasting sporting infrastructure that will make it possible for school sport to flourish,” the department said.

According to the department, at least 40 000 youth are incarcerated in correctional centres, with some “lured into crime due to failure to channel their youthful energies to positive activities like sport and recreation”.

The department said providing facilities for the youth is an opportunity to create positive hobbies and pastimes.

“Projects of this nature are thus aligned to DCS’ Self Sustainability and Sufficiency Framework, by means of partnering with strategic stakeholders like Multichoice in order to rollout infrastructure in disadvantaged communities.

“Such work will serve as a catalyst to promote sport, leading to positive lifestyles among the youth,” the department said.

Meanwhile, DCS Deputy Minister, Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa, is expected to handover a refurbished house to an elderly woman in Swellendam in the Western Cape also on Friday.

“Through its Community Corrections Office, the [department] identified a 69-year-old woman, Ms Hendricka Claassen… who was residing in a dilapidated house thus in need of a dignified shelter.

“In embracing the District Development Model, the DCS, in collaboration with the Local Municipality of Swellendam, as well as other stakeholders, refurbished the home of Ms Claasen using the expertise of offenders from the area. This was in line with the DCS objective of allowing offenders to use their skills to pay back for the harm they caused to society,” the department said.

While there, the Deputy Minister will also launch a new Incinerator at the Helderstroom Correctional Facility.

“[The launch] is part of the DCS long-term facilities strategy to ensure the establishment and maintenance of facilities that are consistent with human dignity, health and safety for both offenders and officials, while also ensuring that all facilities are legally compliant with all policies and standards of the country.

“This is a modern state of the art incinerator from a design and size perspective with low emissions in all classes. Incinerator is a machine designed for burning waste material, especially industrial waste at high temperature,” the department said.