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Hubert Khobane
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The morale amongst members of the Correctional Services.

06 June 2014, 07:50

The morale amongst members of the Correctional Services.

It is very evident from what is happening within the circumambient ambit of the Department of Correctional Facilities that the morale, of employees are deteriorating on a daily basis, as they are becoming mere persal numbers where their personal circumstances and grievances are not being attended to.

The fact that they belong to unions, whom for all practical reasons should be acting in their interest, who dismally fail with their mandate, just makes matters worse.

Grievances amongst members, payments due in respect of overtime, shift rosters, uniforms, identity badges, all contributing to a situation which has become a ticking time bomb within the carceral ambit.

The situation deteriorating to such an extent that a member within the Johannesburg Management Area, committed suicide, and the psychological state of mind amongst members being one of ‘machines that are merely automatically driven’ to be able to get some kind of remuneration that in no way compensate them for their duties executed, and the risks that they are exposed to on a daily basis.

The situation being so bad that the Department even introduced four psychologists to consult with members, yet this late consolation prize does not in any way give any recognition and or indicates any ameliorated action that the Department in any way, intends to do anything about the complaints and grievances of members that are visible amongst them daily.

The mandate on escorting where two members are to escort one offender on a court appearance or having to attend an appointment at an outside Hospital, are just ignored, and members have to content with situations where their lives are exposed to and or subject to violent actions that may happen, in situations where they do not have a back-up plan, of a second person in any kind of situation.

The needs and wants of employees within Correctional Services has been shifted to the backburner of the stove, and this action, is causing a situation where employees will only become less productive, may even refuse to do certain duties, where their lives are being at stake, and then having to suffer by being charged for disobeying orders, which are in direct contrast to the minimum requirements, and in this way, their moral and loyalty to the Department, for whom they have merely become numbers and not people with real needs and wants, becoming oblivious ( unaware, unconscious, unmindful, ignorant, insensible) and their importance in the duties that they perform in the execution thereof become less sufficient, effective and or efficient which in  itself can have disastrous consequences.

Employees of the Department are considering sick leave as ‘leave’ just to be able to not be exposed to all of these risks and this kind of situation worsens the mandate of the department and has a negative connotation to cultivating morale, loyalty, and dignity within its manpower component.

The question remains – when is someone going to act and do something about this ever deteriorating situation – and how many more lives have to be lost due to the circumstances in which members are expected to perform optimally?

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