COMGEN AP­PLAUDS OF­FI­CERS’ DED­I­CA­TION IN THEIR LINE OF DUTY

Observer on Saturday - - News -

“A lion’s den is not the most dreaded place but a comfort zone; it is the most dan­ger­ous area any­one can stay in. It is a place of no growth and no chal­lenges.”

Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral of His Majesty’s Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Isa­iah Mzuthini Nt­shangase has ap­plauded of­fi­cers from the dif­fer­ent cen­tres for ac­knowl­edg­ing that there is a need to step out of the comfort zone and look for pos­si­ble means to new strate­gies of de­vel­op­ing the depart­ment while also en­sur­ing sus­tain­abil­ity in its op­er­a­tions. On Thurs­day last week, the com­mis­sioner gen­eral, through his ex­ec­u­tive, em­barked on a sta­tion tour where of­fi­cers and of­fend­ers had the op­por­tu­nity to de­lib­er­ate on a litany of ad­min­is­tra­tive and op­er­a­tional mat­ters.

This tour is one of the many that the com­mis­sioner gen­eral of­ten con­ducts, es­pe­cially to­wards the end of the year to dis­cuss with of­fi­cers ways and pos­si­ble so­lu­tions that can take the depart­ment to greater heights. Like­wise, the tour, which has lasted for a week now, saw of­fi­cers unan­i­mously agree that the de­vel­op­ment and sus­tain­abil­ity of the depart­ment solely rests upon the adop­tion of cer­tain ap­proaches and the ap­pli­ca­tion of long last­ing strate­gies that will mit­i­gate the pre­vail­ing fis­cal state of af­fairs which has not only mired some of the depart­ment’s en­vi­sioned projects but also posed se­ri­ous chal­lenges within gov­ern­ment as a whole.

Like many gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, the cor­rec­tional ser­vices has not been spared from the harsh ef­fects of the eco­nomic down­turn as such a sit­u­a­tion has had an im­pact on some of the strides made by the depart­ment with re­gards to the rein­te­gra­tion and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of of­fend­ers. How­ever, of­fi­cers have come out to state that the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion can­not en­tirely de­ter the depart­ment’s ef­forts, hence the onus rests upon them­selves to find so­lu­tions for this im­passe. Amongst the crip­pling chal­lenges dis­cussed dur­ing the tour is the es­ca­lat­ing util­ity bills which con­tinue to bite a larger share in the depart­ment’s cof­fers, the lack of ad­e­quate re­sources to en­hance pro­grammes of­fered by the depart­ment to of­fend­ers, over­crowd­ing and other hu­man re­source re­lated mat­ters.

De­spite th­ese na­tional bud­getary con­straints, the com­mis­sioner gen­eral has ap­plauded of­fi­cers for their con­tin­ued ded­i­ca­tion and com­mit­ment, es­pe­cially in the ex­e­cu­tion of their man­date of pro­vid­ing safe cus­tody, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and rein­te­gra­tion for the in­car­cer­ated com­mu­nity. This, he said, was ev­i­denced by the re­cent Award in Ser­vice Ex­cel­lence which was awarded to the depart­ment in recog­ni­tion of cus­tomer ser­vices ex­cel­lence in gov­ern­ment de­part­ments. Nt­shangase says there is a need for all of­fi­cers and of­fend­ers to use re­sources spar­ingly, es­pe­cially be­cause the scope of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties within the depart­ment has in­creased while re­sources re­mained stag­nant over the past years.

For this rea­son, Nt­shangase says think­ing at a higher and broader level can no longer be over­looked in or­der to find last­ing so­lu­tions that will as­sist in re­viv­ing and or sus­tain­ing the econ­omy of the coun­try. He men­tioned that such aus­ter­ity mea­sures would hence aug­ment the fi­nan­cial melt­down.

On the other hand, of­fi­cers in the dif­fer­ent cen­tres have also ex­tended their ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the com­mis­sioner gen­eral for the sup­port he con­tin­ues to give to of­fi­cers. De­spite the fi­nan­cial chal­lenges that are be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced by the coun­try, Nt­shangase has made strides to en­sure that ba­sic re­sources es­sen­tial for the op­er­a­tions were at the of­fi­cers’ dis­posal. They fur­ther thanked the com­mis­sioner gen­eral for his ef­forts in align­ing the depart­ment with the in­ter­na­tional stan­dard in cor­rec­tions through the pro­vi­sion of a litany of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­grammes for in­mates, pro­vi­sion of vo­ca­tional skills for the gen­eral pub­lic, en­sur­ing the recog­ni­tion of rights for of­fend­ers, pro­vid­ing good and qual­ity health care ser­vices as well as the pro­mo­tion of of­fi­cers, amongst other in­ter­ven­tions.

AT­TEN­TIVE: Of­fend­ers lis­ten­ing to speeches at Big Bend Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre.

HAD SOME­THING TO SAY: Com­mis­sioner Luke Malindzisa.

SKILLED: Uphol­stery is one of the skills that of­fend­ers are taught at Mat­sapha Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre.

MY VIEW: Deputy Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral Thomas Dlamini.

STRESS­ING A POINT: Com­mis­sioner Bon­gani Khu­malo.

RE­MARKS: Com­mis­sioner Phindile Dlamini.

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