Support entrepreneurial ex-offenders who turn over a new leaf

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Communities have been encouraged to support offenders who have served their time and are now working hard to run successful businesses.

“We need to support ex-offenders who have businesses because they struggle to find jobs with a criminal record,” Bethel Community Corrections Acting Deputy Regional Commissioner Kenneth Mthombeni said on Saturday.

Speaking to SAnews, he said for ex-offenders to be reintegrated successfully into society they need support in their business ventures so they will not be tempted to return to crime. 

Community Corrections is a component of offender control in the Department of Correctional Services which deals with offenders in the community.

The purpose of community corrections is to provide services and interventions that will contribute to the reintegration of offenders as law abiding citizens into communities by ensuring that probationers are rehabilitated, monitored and accepted by communities.

Ex-offenders who have started their own businesses manned the Department of Correctional Services’ stall at the Economic Opportunities Expo in Ermelo, Mpumalanga. The expo was aimed at exposing young people to the array of career and business opportunities.

Mabuza, who had visited the department’s stall, emphasised the importance of supporting ex-offenders as they had the potential to be successful entrepreneurs.

One successful rehabilitation story of an ex-offender is that of Samuel Simelane who has been running his school uniform-making business for six years. 

Engoya Creations received R50 000 as seed capital from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). This support gave him a chance to turn over a new leaf in his life.

The biggest challenge faced by his business is transportation as he has to travel to Johannesburg to purchase material. “As my business grows I want to have a facility to manufacture my own fabrics,” Simelane said.

At the expo on Saturday, the Department of Correctional Services had a mock prison cell to discourage young people from being involved in criminal activities. The expo was part of activities in the Youth Month programme.

Start your own business and create jobs

Deputy President David Mabuza, who had led the youth walk earlier in the day, encouraged the youth to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to them to fight for economic emancipation.

“Every generation has got its own mission. When we were growing up our mission was to liberate the nation and many people lost their lives for that. Young people, your mission is to fight for economic emancipation, fight [against] poverty and unemployment. With determination, you can defeat [poverty and unemployment],” he said during his engagement with young people.

He called on the youths to start their own business in an effort to create jobs.

"The many socio-economic challenges that face this region can only be reversed if young people unite, organise themselves, work hard, and make the imperative of socio-economic emancipation their generational mission.

“Government will support businesses who offer quality products or services,” the Deputy President said.

He further urged public servants to put people first, especially in public hospitals and clinics.

“Some people are not happy with the service they receive from government, especially in hospitals. We must be a caring government, as public servants our jobs is to put people first,” the Deputy President said.

The Deputy President also condemned the destruction of public infrastructure during protests.

Earlier on Saturday, the Deputy President was joined by Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Stella Ndabeni- Abrahams as they led the youth walk which was followed by the Youth Economic Opportunities Imbizo.

During the Imbizo young people had the opportunity to engage with the Deputy President on some of the challenges they face.

Led by the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, the Economic Opportunities Imbizo was aimed at exposing young people to the array of career and business opportunities available in government, its public entities as well as in the private sector.

The one-day Imbizo incorporated an Economic Opportunities Expo where the youth were able to register companies and domain names; register on the central supplier database and as job seekers, as well as access onsite banking facilities and sell their products. –