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Source: Ministry of Correctional Services
Title: N Balfour: Drakenstein Correctional Centre
ADDRESS BY THE MINISTER OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, MR BMN BALFOUR,
MP, TO MANAGEMENT OF DRAKENSTEIN CORRECTIONAL CENTRE, 27 August
Commissioner Linda Mti
Deputy Regional Commissioner James Smallberger
Area Commissioner Sinclair
Heads of Prisons
Members of Management
It is exactly three months to the day that I addressed some of you
at Goodwood when I met the management of the Western Cape. I spent
some time addressing the challenges that we face in Correctional
Services including issues such as the interests and the
responsibilities of members, those of management, the Commissioner
and even myself.
Today is not the time for lengthy exchanges between ourselves. The
main purpose of this visit is essentially to greet you as
management, possibly receive some written updates from the
Management Area and then to go to some of the facilities. Of
course, you would accompany me to your respective sections in order
for me to be informed by you about the nature of the work that you
do and to point out some of the challenges but also the
Ek stel belang daarin om te sien wat ons lede op 'n daaglikse basis
doen. Ek wil verstaan waarom ons sekere besluite neem. Ek wil
verstaan hoe ons, as die bestuur met lede en gevangenes
kommunikeer. Dis belangrik vir my dat ek 'n idee kry hoe julle oor
jul werkplek voel.
Uit die staanspoor, wil ek julle bedank dat julle die geleentheid
vir my geskep het om hier te wees. Ek waardeer dit. Tweedens, baie
dankie vir die werk wat julle verrig, sommige tye onder baie
I just want to take a short while to address some issues that you
as management, have to deal with. As the Minister, I try to live
and conduct my work through two very simple principles. Those
principles should by now also be part of your everyday life as
senior correctional officials. I speak of humility and pride. Ek
praat van nederigheid en trots.
It is in fact, our slogan within Correctional Services. Am I proud
of what I am doing; of my work and my workplace? and do I do my
work with humility?
Let me give you two simple examples that appeared in the media this
week. In one article, an editorial stated the following: ...."We
are not very impressed with the Department of Correctional
Services. Given the shocking state of prison administration and the
fact that people keep escaping from these institutions, we would
have thought that the department's staff would have more than
enough worthwhile tasks to perform."
In the other article, it referred to the fire at Pollsmoor and
accused us of wanting to control the flow of information and of
Now these are perceptions out there. It is not necessarily the
truth but this is what people think of us. Dit behoort ons te
onstel. It should disturb us. While it might not be referring to
anyone specific of us here this morning, it does refer to the
Department. In other words, all of us are tarred with the same
brush. It conveys negativity. It speaks of a lack of pride. It
speaks of manipulation. Again, it is very wrong, I agree, but the
perception is there and it is strong.
How do we, as management deal with such perceptions? And if it is
fact, how do we as management, deal with it?
As managers, I am asking you to consider such matters. Personal
pride is important in our lives. It has to do with self-respect,
respect for others and how others respect us. You might not even be
happy in your job. You might disagree with your superiors. You
might say to yourself that you do not care a damn. But what does
that do to your self-respect? Does such an attitude not demonstrate
a low self-esteem? Does it not make you a horrible person? Think
about it. Think about how you inter-act with others. Think about
how you perform in the workplace and think if your complaints are
always justified. Measure your daily work performance against that
what is expected of you; that what your job description
Ask yourself into which category do you fit as a manager. Am I
scared to take decisions? Am I allowing myself to be manipulated
simply because I want to be popular with others? Do I also sign the
register and then disappear from my workplace? Do I cut my Fridays
short? Do I still check on whether those delegated certain duties
such as gate duty, do the searches expected of them? Do I search my
colleagues when they enter security and restricted sections or do I
leave it and in this way, miss it when attempts are made to, for
example, smuggle weapons or contraband to inmates?
These things happen. I know it. Do not let us be blind to it.
The matter of humility is then also paramount. Am I humble in the
execution of my duties as a manager without usurping my
responsibilities? Do I treat my colleagues with respect and the
inmates with dignity?
Ek weet daar is tye wanneer jy hard moet optree. Ek besef dat
gevangenes jou menslikheid sal wil uitbuit. Dis maar natuurlik dat
hulle kanse sal waag. But there is also the matter of humaneness.
Get the balance. It is important for you as a person so that you do
not experience continuous frustrations and dissatisfactions.
I will be visiting you again in the near future when I will spend
more time with members. This is merely an opportunity to meet you.
I want to appeal to you to make this institution and the others
that you manage well-known for the quality of work that you
deliver. Show pride in what you do and humility in what you
For that matter, I passed a building site the other day and I saw a
board proudly displayed: It included things such as: Number of days
without an accident.
Would it not be a challenge if we have similar reminders dealing
with matters such as escapes, industrial action and even the
uncovery of corruption?
I am putting this on the table and look forward to our next
engagement, where we would be able to expand on the issues that
affect us as proud correctional officials.
I thank you.
Issued by: Ministry of Correctional Services
27 August 2004