African ministers of prisons for crucial talks

Siyabonga Africa

Siyabonga Africa

The ministerial council of the All Africa Correctional Services Association is to hold a two-day conference in Pretoria this week.

This was announced at a press conference in Booysens, Johannesburg, yesterday, which was attended by more than 20 commissioners and members of the association's interim secretariat.

Department of Correctional Services spokesman Manelisi Wolela said the conference, to take place on Thursday and Friday, would be historic . "The correctional services and prisons ministers of 12 African nations will be meeting to establish the All Africa Correctional Services Association," said Wolela.

Also present at yesterday's briefing were the chairman of the interim executive council, John Nyoka, and Vernie Peterson, national Commissioner of Correctional Services.

Wolela said the meeting would include ministers from Swaziland, Namibia, Benin, Cameroon, Zambia, Rwanda and Nigeria.

He said another meeting would be held today and tomorrow where the commissioners and directors-general of the various member states would discuss strategies to be endorsed by their ministers during the two-day conference.

Nyoka said: "Correctional services had to become smart with crime instead of being tough on crime. Being smart on crime means trying to find ways to deal with the criminal attitude so that it does not spread in communities."

The association was conceived during the eighth conference in Swaziland last year of eastern, southern, central African heads of correctional services.