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St Albans Prison gets multi-million Rand bakery as it eyes self-sufficiency

By Afikile Lugunya - Sep 3, 2018
St Albans Prison gets multi-million Rand bakery as it eyes self-sufficiency

The Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Thabang Makwetla, accompanied by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, on Friday officially opened a state-of-the-art bakery at St Albans Correctional facility in Port Elizabeth.

St Albans becomes the ninth facility to open a bakery - reaffirming the Department of Correctional Services’ quest of establishing self-sufficiency within its centres.

According to the Department, the new bakery will supply bread to 5 941 inmates spread across seven centres under the jurisdiction of St. Albans Management Area.

It said that the facility is expected to save over R1.9 million per annum through the use of internal resources.

Twelve inmates, who will be working at the bakery, are expected to bake 2 319 loaves per day, and were given specialised training of bread making. There are plans to add more inmates on the programme.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister Makwetla, said: "Our mandate as DCS is to invest in rehabilitation and social reintegration programmes; aimed at breaking the cycle of crime as outlined in the National Development Plan, towards ensuring that all people in South Africa are, and feel safe."

He added that construction of the bakery started in 2017 and it was completed in March 2018 with a projected budget of R1.4 million for the renovations and an additional R1.4 million for the equipment.

"This investment shows that we take very seriously the founding principles of our constitution; and the provisions of our legislation and policies that seek to rehabilitate and equip offenders within our care, with the necessary skills to become employable and productive citizens, he described."

He said that the aim of the department is to ensure that the bakery grows and becomes a self-sustaining enterprise with the following added benefits:

  • The creation of work opportunities and the development of at least 28 offenders in craft bread baking on a permanent basis.
  • While an additional eight (08) offenders minimum can be accommodated in six (06) week pre-release training courses; under the supervision of bakery officials and offenders and the guidance of Skills development officials. 
  • Increase self-sufficiency.
  • Provision of development opportunities to offenders in market related skills.

One of the bakers, a 34-year-old Sivuyile Benjamin, said: "This is a good opportunity for me because when I get released, I'll have the skills to sustain me."

Benjamin said that he was arrested for robbery and murder and was sentenced to serve 25 years and six months behind bars.

However, in 2010 he completed engineering and related design Lewvel 2 courses at the Midlands College.

To the youth, he said: "I have spent 10 years three months in jail while I could have completed school and did something better with my life, all those, who are still doing crime are still living in the dark, they haven't seen the light so I say don't let jail open your eyes."

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