Ndebele on Monday spent 67 minutes with offenders at the Piet Retief Correctional Services Centre harvesting fresh vegetables from a garden started by offenders, firstly to develop their own skills but also for them to contribute towards poverty alleviation and fighting hunger.
"The vegetables from this garden are donated to needy families in this community," said the department.
Following the visit to the centre the minister and offenders also donated 900 grey trousers manufactured by offenders from Witbank Correctional Centre; 900 white shirts made by offenders from Mogwase Correctional Centre and 834 dozen of eggs from Losperfontein Correctional Centre to the Ezakheni Combined School.
During the opening of the school on 6 November 2011 by President Jacob Zuma, the department pledged one hectare of land to provide fresh vegetables for the school. Since implementation of this project during February this year, 2 178 kilograms of five types of fresh vegetables, planted and cultivated by offenders, were donated to the school between April and 2 July.
Ndebele highlighted that the department was increasing the number of offenders ploughing back into society.
"This week, we join the rest of the country in celebrating our international icon, and our own Madiba, by setting aside time, rolling up our sleeves and dedicating 67 minutes to working to uplift our communities.
"On Wednesday, 18 July, Madiba turns 94; we salute him and honour him through this contribution by DCS to poverty alleviation as part of the 2012 Nelson Mandela International Day commemorations"
The materials used to produce the shirts were donated as a result of a partnership between the department and Sun City.