COMGEN APPLAUDS OFFICERS’ DEDICATION IN THEIR LINE OF DUTY
“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.