KZN Department of Correctional Services crowns top matric achievers

KZN MEC for Education Mbali Frazer celebrating with the matric top achieving inmates for attaining good results. Picture: Tumi Pakkies African News Agency (ANA)

KZN MEC for Education Mbali Frazer celebrating with the matric top achieving inmates for attaining good results. Picture: Tumi Pakkies African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 1, 2023


Durban — The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is hoping that offenders will be inspired and that they soon become true law-abiding citizens once their sentences expire.

This comes as DCS held the matric results announcement and awards ceremony naming top achievers, best-performing region and best-improved province at the DCS Westville on Tuesday.

Through the province’s four full-time schools registered, KZN received a 98% pass rate for the 2022 National Senior Certificate (NCS) with 53 inmates registered.

Mhlengi Chiliza of Sicebengolwazi Secondary School was named the regional overall best-performing learner with 86.6%, while uSethubeni Youth School received the minister’s award for attaining a 100% pass rate consecutively over the past seven years. This included the school’s best-performing educator, VW Dludla, whose subject business studies got a 92% pass rate.

The educators special award for achieving a 100% pass rate consecutively from 2016 to date was awarded to Zondo TVL from Qalakabusha Secondary School, Empangeni.

According to the DCS, the region achieved 39 bachelor’s and 13 diploma passes, while in 2021 there were 18 bachelor's and five diplomas.

KZN MEC for Education Mbali Frazer, matric top achieving inmate Mhlengi Chiliza and KZN Correctional Services commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele celebrate Chiliza’s exam results. Picture: Tumi Pakkies African News Agency (ANA)

Nhlakanipho Mathaba (26) from Clermont said he was not shocked when he got the results as he found all the exam papers fair.

Mathaba got six distinctions in accounting, business studies, life orientation, isiZulu, English and tourism. He added that the support from their teachers from the beginning of the year made studying manageable.

He said he had applied for NSFAS funding and would be studying commercial law at the Unisa.

“Dedication would be my secret tool that resulted in me getting the results I was hoping for. I asked for help from my teachers and they were always available. I prayed to God for focus and strength to love my job. Therefore, I would like to encourage other inmates who have not thought of studying to give it a try,” said Mathaba.

Speaking on behalf of the mothers with children in prison, Queen Sibongile Sibiya, the mother of Njabulo, who was among the top achievers, said she was grateful for the second chance and opportunity given to her son.

Sibiya said the prison teachers also created an initiative to reach out to the parents and guardians of inmates who were in matric for support.

“Today I am the happiest woman alive. Njabulo is my first son. Yet he’s the very child that disappointed and broke me. I could not even come see him in prison. However, when the prison contacted me for a meeting of the matrics, I knew I had to be there. Today, I can attest that he has changed and passed his matric with good marks,” said Sibiya.

“It is through his success that I can proudly say making mistakes that lead our children to jail is not the end of the world,” Sibiya said.

“Jail is not a good place. But through the will and determination to change, these young boys and girls have learnt to respect again. I never thought I would get that respect again after Njabulo had changed. It is the teachers he found here that taught him that and I will forever be grateful. I would like to urge all mothers not to doubt their children when they are making such good changes, but support them," said Sibiya.

KZN matric top achieving inmates during their prize-giving for attaining good results for their matric. Picture: Tumi Pakkies African News Agency (ANA)

KZN regional commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele said this was an increase of DCS enrolment from 23 learners registered in 2021 with only one pupil “unsuccessful”. Nxele said there was a commitment endured by everyone involved in the advancing education system within the justice cluster.

“This achievement signifies dedication and understanding of inclusive partnership by our key role-players as enshrined in the District Development Model,” Nxele said.

The Department of Education persistently plays a pivotal role in ensuring that teaching and learning in DCS schools is highly rated at all times, and that was the reason the province continued to emerge as the best-performing region at a national level, Nxele added.

KZN MEC for Education Mbali Frazer said educators in DCS were among the most passionate people for always encouraging inmates to see themselves as human beings, not just offenders.

Frazer also congratulated those who enrolled in skills training programmes after seeing some of their beautiful furniture and the clothes offenders made from scratch.

She said this gave her hope that offenders would be able to use those skills to make a living when they went back home.

“I know being locked up can’t be easy psychologically and emotionally. But having events like this inspires all of us to always believe in ourselves, work hard and strive for success,” Frazer said.

KZN's top achieving matric inmate Mhlengi Chiliza applauds for himself and the other inmates for attaining good results in their matric exams. Picture: Tumi Pakkies African News Agency (ANA)
Correctional Services officer Minette Plaatjies, matric top achieving inmate Mhlengi Chiliza and member of council in the eThekwini Municipality Sqiniseko Shezi celebrate Chiliza’s exam results. Picture: Tumi Pakkies African News Agency (ANA)

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