The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Adv. Michael Masutha together with the Limpopo MEC for Education Mr Ishmael Kgetjepe visited Siloe School for the Blind at Thokgoaneng, Ga-Chuene recently. They also visited SJ Van Der Merwe Technical Service School at Lebowakgomo.
The purpose of these visits was to celebrate the positive role that offender’s labour can play in uplifting communities. Inmates from Thohoyandou and Parolees from Polokwane Management Area used their carpentry skills to make beds for 43 learners. They also used their building skills to build Maths and Science Centre at SJ Van Der Merwe Technical High School. The Limpopo Department of Education collaborated with Department of Justice and Correctional Service to make these projects a success.
Speaking at Siloe School, MEC Kgetjepe thanks the inmates and parolees for the job well-done. He also indicated that the partnership between the two departments, that of Education and Correctional Services is indeed giving good fruits.
Speaking at the event, a representative of the inmates said, “By participating in these projects, we are ploughing back to the community. We fully understand that with all the heartache we’ve caused in the society, and what we are doing now as a way of apologising may not be enough to make things right. With the little that we have done, we say sorry for all evils we make in our own communities. Please accept us back home and we will contribute positively”.
Speaking at SJ Van Der Merwe, Director in Special Schools’ projects, Mr Mabote said “The Department of Education is propagating a slogan that says education is a societal matter. What it means in practical terms is that any interdepartmental collaboration from whichever angle that can advance the educational future of our children in schools should be appreciated. It is against the background of massive resource challenge that we are confronted with as the department that a gesture and an investment from correctional services of this nature should be appreciated. I share the conviction that if you open a school door, you close a prison door.”
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Honourable Adv. Michael Masutha said “It is our duty not to stigmatise offenders when they come back home. They indeed have value they can add to our society. We are not here just to celebrate the structure, because a structure on its own is meaningless without that which is meant to help achieve. Let us protect these structures. They belong to us.”
The Limpopo Department of Education appreciates all partners who donate both their labour and resources for the advancement of Education. Those who need to donate can contact Donor Funding Director, Mr Phill Malahlela at 082 906 0297.
By Marinkie Mafotja