All names to be considered for prisons

2011-03-15 20:07

Johannesburg - All names would be considered in the process of re-naming various prisons around the country, the correctional services department said on Tuesday.

"All names proposed are valid and will be considered by the leadership of the department of correctional services, as no pre-conceived names were selected," the department said in a statement.

Those participating in public hearings in Soweto, in Mamelodi, in Durban and in Pietermaritzburg, had put forward about 80 names - with emphasis on celebrating icons and heroes who had dedicated themselves to the liberation and development of others and on inspiring people to focus on issues of hope, forgiveness, development, rehabilitation and social reintegration, the department said.

About 5 000 people have so far attended the hearings.

Further public hearings were scheduled to take place in Port Elizabeth, East London, Barberton, Modimolle, Kroonstad and Mitchells Plain.

Eleven facilities would be renamed.

The debate over renaming prisons was heated in Mamelodi earlier this month with the Bapedi Ba Mamone traditional council backing the name of their King Maphuru II who was incarcerated at Pretoria Correctional Services (previously known as Pretoria Central Prison) and died there in 1883.

Other members of the Mamelodi community insisted the facility be renamed after Umkhonto we Sizwe struggle icon Solomon Mahlangu.

People came out in numbers to make their voices heard on the renaming, mostly tribes including the Bathlokwa a Molefe, who came with their King Molefe, and Kgosigadi Phasha of the Baroka baga Phasha tribe.

Although at times heated, the mood was festive with people dancing and singing.

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