As a partially blind man, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha finds it important to invest in pupils with disabilities, so his department and some inmates renovated and made several donations to the Filadelfia Secondary School in Soshanguve.
For offenders to apply the skills given to them through various training programmes in correctional centres, the inmates painted the school dormitories, repaired broken windows and malfunctioning geysers, and donated 40 beds and mattresses to the pupils.
The school for children with special needs, which caters to about 400 pupils, was one of the 22 schools for the blind and visually impaired to benefit from the programme, Masutha said.
“We and the offenders repaired 30 geysers, 49 windows and window slides.
“About 45 spring beds need to be fixed, [plus] doors and door handles, ceilings and we refurbished 62 classroom desks, all to enable pupils to learn in a conducive environment.
“We have donated 40 beds which we are no longer using and our factories at the correctional centres manufactured 40 mattresses.
“Back in my day, things were a bit difficult for a black child who is partially blind.”
He said the programme was for offenders to show remorse to the society they offended.
“As the correctional services, we took a decision to correct offenders. To err is human. Some people err in a more grievous manner.
“By re-skilling offenders, we believe we can use the skills they acquired in a positive manner.”
School principal Derrick Peete said they were excited to get the new equipment.
“The school is very old and most of the things are not in order or dilapidated. I feel this is help we needed for such a long time.
“The painting, renewing desks and buying some chairs for us is an upliftment of the school”.