Crime awareness campaign in KwaMachibisa

2017-08-09 06:01
PHOTO: MAKHOSANDILE ZULUThe Happy Boys traditional dance group of inmates provide the entertainment at the campaign in the community hall.

PHOTO: MAKHOSANDILE ZULUThe Happy Boys traditional dance group of inmates provide the entertainment at the campaign in the community hall.

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THE Pietermaritzburg Department of Correctional Services held a crime awareness campaign in Ward 22 at the Poyinadi Community Hall in KwaMchibisa last Wednesday.

The Correctional Services Area Commissioner, Kgwadu Mohale, said the department took the campaign to Ward 22 because of its high crime rate, which includes rape, robbery, vigilantism and assault in the area.
He said the aim of the campaign was also to get the community involved in fighting crime.

“The community has to work with us [correctional services], the SAPS, community policing forums and other community structures in the fight against crime and one important way they can do this is to report crime to the relevant authorities,” Mohale said.

He said the department has also noticed once inmates are released back into society the stigma of being a former inmate results in them being rejected by the community.

“Once prisoners have been released, please accept them with open hands because as correctional services we release an individual after assessing they are fully rehabilitated,” Mohale said.
Bongumusa Nzimande, who has spent 11 years behind bars, and is currently at the Pietermaritzburg Medium A New Prison, said campaigns of this nature are important because they give communities a perspective on how the police, correctional services, and community safety structures work and how they can work with the community to address crime.

“Decisions that are taken hastily can land you in a lot of trouble,” Nzimande said.

“Jail is not a nice place, it is a very difficult place.”

He said government should rely less on the private sector to provide employment for former inmates, it should rather create employment opportunities itself.

“Sometimes it takes a long time for a criminal record to be expunged, so it makes it difficult for a former prisoner to secure employment, which might then lead them back to crime.”
Ward 22 resident Siyabonga Jali said the campaign was fruitful because he learnt about crime, drugs, the role communities can play in the fight against crime and how the community can work together to bring about social cohesion.

“The community needs to work together in the fight against crime, especially against people who sell drugs, and they must report drug dealers to the police,” he said.

He also said the public should desist from taking the law into their own hands.

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