Exposed to the true

2019-06-18 06:00
Ex-warden at Pollsmoor Prison, Chris Malgas, lead the crime prevention programme at the prison on Thursday 13 June. PHOTOS: RAcine Edwardes

Ex-warden at Pollsmoor Prison, Chris Malgas, lead the crime prevention programme at the prison on Thursday 13 June. PHOTOS: RAcine Edwardes

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Learners from Ocean View High School, Goodwood Primary School and children from South Africa Children’s Home visited Pollsmoor Prison during a build-up to Youth Day.

The visit was part of a crime prevention programme to find out about a life of crime.

Ex-warden Chris Malgas led the programme, which was attended by learners aged eight to 19, on Thursday 13 June.

Malgas spent about 40 years working at the prison before retiring. He also assisted investigative journalist, Ross Kemp, in the making of the famed documentary Ross Kemp on Gangs and was therefore the perfect person to give the youth some insight into the consequences of a life of crime, and the fates they will surely face should they end up in prison. “On the first night when you end up in prison, you will get raped,” he told the children. “Coming to prison means that you have your dignity stripped.”

He offered great detail into the life of the prisoners who were once murderers, drug dealers, and gangsters, and explained that all they have now is a life-cycle of waking to eat and exercise which is broken up with long periods spent sleeping in their cells.

Given Maxakhu, an inmate at the prison who was convicted for robbery, works at the cafeteria serving up delicious meals for a pittance. “For my first three months I earned R1,20 a day, that’s R36 a month,” he said. “Now I earn R1,36 a day.”

The learners listened tentatively to the speakers who shared their harrowing experiencing in the prison which included smuggling drugs through the rectum, daily abuse, physical assault which occurs often and much more.

Blessing Mutize, an Ocean View High School learner, said: “I learned that drugs are not good and also gangsterism is not good. You have to grow up and listen to your parents rather than listen to your friends. Drugs can kill you.”

Samuel Andrews, another learner, added: “The influence that drugs had on us is that it can change your mindset in a way that it can affect your family, friends, and decisions that you make; and that can influence you in so many ways. As a result of doing drugs, it can influence you to do crime.”

Teagon Klein of the Christian Dependency Ministries was impressed by the programme that was put on. “Information was given to them clearly, so I don’t think any of these children would still go out and try their luck after hearing all the things that go on in the prisons,” he said.

This crime prevention initiative was brought together by Ocean View Police, SAPS Museum Muizenberg, Pollsmoor Prison and Christian Dependency Ministries.

Lewies Davids, spokesperson for Pollsmoor, concluded by saying: “We want to spread this initiative to more schools and get more children to go through this programme to learn about the life of a prisoner.”

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