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Wellness drive focuses on improving working conditions of prison staff

The national department of correctional services hosted a three-day integrated health and wellness summit at the St Albans Correctional Centre. From left are Sanele Siko (acting manager of the Amathole Recreation Club), Nozipiwo Dumbela (deputy regional commissioner in the Eastern Cape), Linda Bond (deputy commissioner human resources development at correctional services), and Lucky Mthethwa (acting regional commissioner)
WORKING TOGETHER: The national department of correctional services hosted a three-day integrated health and wellness summit at the St Albans Correctional Centre. From left are  Sanele Siko (acting manager of the Amathole Recreation Club), Nozipiwo Dumbela (deputy regional commissioner in the Eastern Cape), Linda Bond (deputy commissioner human resources development at correctional services), and Lucky Mthethwa (acting regional commissioner)
Image: EUGENE COETZEE

Access to chaplain services and improving the on-site residences for staff at the St Albans Correctional Centre were some of the suggestions made to better the working environment at the prison.

With an aim to ensure every employee at St Albans has the psychological and physical support to do their jobs, a wellness drive was hosted at the Nelson Mandela Bay prison over three days this week.

Between Tuesday and Thursday, a focus was placed on the importance of individual health, safety, wellness, organisational wellness, environmental sustainability, quality management, productivity and improved service delivery outcomes.

Eastern Cape regional head of corporate services, Vuyisile Twani, said with the growth in crime, specifically violent crimes, it was important to find the best means possible to support their officials.

The summit forms part of the department of public service and administration’s employee health and wellness policies. 

Correctional services department national chief deputy commissioner Cynthia Ramulifho said while absenteeism was not a primary challenge for the department, due to the Covid-19 pandemic some of the challenges revolved around officials returning to work.

Justice and correctional services deputy minister Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa attended the summit on Tuesday.

Ramulifho said: “The summit will help integrate more programmes to support officials’ physical and mental health.”

She said the SA Police Service had also come out to support them.

“As a security structure we have similarities, we also need to advance some of the good things that they have done for their officials, among which is that their chaplain services focuses on their officials.”

Ramulifho said quarterly meetings would be held for progress reports to be submitted.

The department intended to look at the conditions and safety of the  single quarters,  as well as the married quarters for correctional services officials.

 

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