Renaming prisons will 'create awareness'
Johannesburg - The planned renaming of some correctional facilities will help create public awareness about its daily work, the correctional services department said on Monday.
"Through the Ministerial Legacy Project of renaming some correctional facilities in South Africa, we wish to galvanise public awareness and association with the work the Department of Correctional Services is doing," said Sonwabo Mbananga, spokesperson for minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
"Why? This is in mitigation of the program of rehabilitation the department has placed at the centre of its daily work."
He was responding to editorial comment in some newspapers relating to the department's stance on the planned renaming.
"The fact is the centres targeted for renaming are not located in districts of commercial trade nor are they businesses or names of streets... but places of incarceration often in remote and isolated areas," he said.
Mbananga said names like the Pretoria Central Correctional Centre and Johannesburg Central Correctional Centre were flawed as both names honoured people who were part of a repressive system.
Johannesburg was named after two commissioners of the apartheid era -Johannes Rissik and Christaan Johannes Joubert.
Pretoria was similarly named after Andries Pretorius.
He said issues surrounding the cost of the renaming were dealt with "comprehensively and openly".
Eleven correctional centres were identified for renaming.
They were Johannesburg, Pretoria Central, Leeuwkop, Barberton, Modimolle, St Albans, East London, Pollsmoor, Kroonstad, Durban Westville, and the Pietermaritzburg Correctional Centres.
"By building bridges with the community and South African society at large, we create the spaces in which those offenders that are indeed rehabilitated and wish to embark on life afresh are afforded the opportunity to do so," Mbananga said.
Partnerships with the public were necessary for transparency and openness, he added.