EWC Hosts Youth Imbizo

June 2017

The Department of Correctional Services, in conjunction with the Gauteng Department of Community Safety and Ekurhuleni Municipality, held a youth Imbizo at Ekurhuleni West TVET College’s Kathorus campus in June 2017.

The aim of the Imbizo was the mobilization of students and the community to rise, and contribute meaningfully to the creation of crime free zones and also to encourage students to refrain from criminality and substance abuse, as youth are key in the quest to build safe and secure societies.

South Africa celebrates the 2017 youth month under the theme "The year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment." The Department of Correctional Services chose EWC to inform and educate students about the consequences of criminal activities and substance abuse.

Another reason to focus on students is that June is regarded as youth month and according to statistics, around 65% of offenders are young people. More than 7000 of South Africa’s prisoner population comprises young people, under the age of 21.

When welcoming guests on the day, the Principal of EWC, Ms Hellen Ntlatleng, said the college prides itself with the state-of-the-art workshops available on its campuses, which assist in up-skilling the youth of Ekurhuleni.

"In this very campus that is hosting you, we have built an Entrepreneurship Incubation Hub, where SMMEs will be produced. The incubation hub will serve EWC students and the community at large," said Ms Ntlatleng. She went on to petition the Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional services to intervene and assist in the challenges that the college is facing, such as taverns that are too close to the institution, and substance abuse among students.

In her address, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, Gauteng MEC for Community Safety encouraged young people to know the history of the country, especially what the youth of 1976 fought for. She said she will play a significant role in ensuring that history is integrated in curriculums as a compulsory subject.

More than 300 EWC students were entertained and educated by a drama performed by female inmates from the Johannesburg Correctional Facility, entitled "Never say Never."

Ex-Offender, Themba "Skeem GP" Lukhele, attested through his motivational talk that the Department of Correctional Services is doing well in terms of correcting the behaviour of offenders through skills development, so that when released from correctional centres, they are better people. "I opened two companies while behind bars and named them Mastermind Lifestyle and Kingpin. One of my companies recently did production, sound, stage and lighting during the Ekurhuleni State of the City address," said Lukhele. He wrote a book about his life before and during prison titled, Through it All, and he is currently assisting with production of a series playing on DStv channel 161, called Isithembiso.

Addressing the gathering, Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Thabang Makwetla, emphasised that correction is a societal responsibility. "Community participation in the social re-integration of parolees and ex-inmates upon their release back into their families and respective communities remains a key pillar in our programs to reduce re-offending. It is through these interventions that we pave a way for the ex-offenders to be welcomed with open hands in the community," said the Deputy Minister.

He further stated that in Ekurhuleni, the Department of Correctional Service’s Correctional Supervision is responsible for a total of 2 688 parolees and 630 probationers, who still serve their sentences from outside prison facilities.

The event was also supported by the Presidential Youth Working Committee through Zama Qampi, who presented opportunities available for youth in his office.

Ms Hellen Ntlatleng, Principal EWC, addressing the Youth Imbizo.
Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, Mr Thabang Makwetla.
Former inmate, Skeem GP, delivering a motivational talk to the attendees.
Kathorus Campus students, listening attentively.
Kathorus SRC Members, Kgomotso and Phindile.



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