Renaming prisons not political - minister
Cape Town - Plans to rename prisons was not about honouring political leaders, Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said on Tuesday.
"There has recently been criticism from certain sections of our society of the process of renaming centres that we announced earlier this year," she told the National Assembly during debate on her budget vote.
"It is unfortunate that some among us have adopted a simplistic view that this is being done at the expense of more pressing issues that need our attention given the challenges of the department. We do not agree," she said.
The public campaign for renaming corrections centres was designed as a public awareness campaign to galvanise communities and to get them to discuss the work of correctional services and rehabilitation.
"We are bringing communities to identify with the activities of the centres where they live, to make those centres part of the community and to associate with them.
"Contrary to the impression that is being created this campaign is not about naming these centres after political leaders."
Although submissions had been received including names of political leaders, the "inclination is more towards names that bring hope and identifies with our objective of second chances for both the offenders and the community".
"We have always given the example of the Qalakabusha Correctional Centre [meaning to start over] as one of the names that represent the notion of second chances and encourages a positive outlook to the purpose of the centre in the community," Mapisa-Nqakula said.