The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, has congratulated the matric Class of 2023 for their achievement in the past year.
On Tuesday, the minister congratulated the more than 187 inmates, who recorded a pass rate of 93.2%, during a ceremony held at the Westville prison. He said he was excited to be acknowledging the brilliance of their achievements as part of a transfer of skills initiative.
“I stand before you excited and proud of the continued work of transferring skills to inmates through education. The Department of Correctional Services implements a series of educational and vocational programmes which are designed to empower inmates to transform their lives and enable them not to return to their previous lives of crime. Our work is geared towards ensuring that inmates, once released or placed on parole, use their acquired skills to obtain employment, empower their communities and contribute positively to society,” he said.
According to the minister, more than 157 of the 187 full-time matric learners passed their exams with a total of 100 Bachelor passes, 41 diploma passes and 16 higher certificate passes, while the part-time learners achieved a pass rate of 84%.
The matric Class of 2023 achieved 129 distinctions overall mostly in IsiZulu, Business Studies, Life Orientation and Mathematical Literacy.
The minister indicated that rehabilitation cannot happen without empowering inmates with knowledge, education and skills, adding that the impressive performance displayed by the majority of the inmates who sat down for their exams was worthy of praise.
“As we gather in this fashion to announce the 2023 inmates’ matric results, we want to emphasise once more that our work is about correcting the offending character of inmates and contributing towards safer communities in South Africa.
“We have heard from the ex-offender on how correctional services programmes reformed him and this is but one of the many examples of the stories of corrections in South Africa which we are proud of.
“Our matric results continue to be impressive and are in line with the legacy we want to leave in the Department of Correctional Services, which must reflect significant reduction of recidivism. We know that some of our parolees, through committing heinous crimes, render the progress we have made on the fight against re-offending to be lost in the blink of an eye,” he said.
One of the learners who did exceptionally well is Western Cape-based Benn Mathews Christopher who obtained an average of 86.14% with six distinctions in English First Additional Language (83%), Mathematical Literacy (86%), Life Orientation (85%), Business Studies (92%), Geography (89%) and Tourism (92%).