Fort Napier warder retires after 35 years Warder retires after 35 years

2016-02-17 06:00
PHOTO: nicole john Gops Naidoo recently retired from his position as a warder at Fort Napier New Prison.

PHOTO: nicole john Gops Naidoo recently retired from his position as a warder at Fort Napier New Prison.

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GOPS Naidoo recently turned 60 and retired from his position as a warder at Fort Napier New Prison, a position he held for 35 years.

Naidoo began his career on 13 January, 1981 as a carpenter in the building group teaching inmates skills and said that with a team of workers and inmates they built most of the correctional centre and the houses and flats on the premises.

He then taught inmates multiple skills in the building trade including tiling, painting and plumbing.

He began working at Fort Napier because he was looking for job security as the building industry was unstable and one had to constantly look for the next job.

“It wasn’t easy so to make it to 60 and still be working at the prison is an achievement because there are a number of negative factors that affect your job.

“Inmates can escape, attack each other or even you. Every day you leave to work not knowing if you will return, but I have always been God-fearing. I was never attacked by an inmate, although there were some close shaves.”

The best part of his job was to see an inmate reform and change their life for the better, knowing he had some part in that change.

“Being a part of making them an acceptable citizen again and allowing them to go back into society is very satisfying. It’s all about humanity.

“You can’t treat them badly and expect them to trust you. You have to build a trust with them and win them over,” said Naidoo.

Naidoo said he does not plan to stay at home and be idle now that he has retired.

“You have to retire at 60 in the correctional services sector even if you are still able to work so I am applying for other jobs, but if nothing comes through then I will be starting a small home improvement business on my own,” he said.

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