Inmates are being equipped with skills that will help them get employment in the manufacturing sector when they leave prison, following the Public-Private-Partnership that the Zimbabwe Prisons Correctional Services (ZPCS) has forged.
Government is also intensifying empowerment of youths through the EmpowerBank, Women’s Development Bank, Youth Development Fund and other initiatives to ensure the young generation plays an important role in the attainment of Vision 2030.
This came out yesterday during a tour of the Harare Central Prison and the Harare Remand Prison by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube.
He was accompanied by ZPCS Commissioner-General Moses Chihobvu and Harare Central Officer-In-Charge, Chief Superintendent Crashewell Mandave, among other senior officials.
Prof Ncube toured the cells, clothing factory, carpentry department and motor cycle assembling department.
The motorcycle assembling department is operating under the Correctional Industries Manufacturers, a joint venture between the ZPCS and Mr Angelo Pereira.
Inmates are trained to assemble motorcycles and will be equipped with skills in the process.
The company also offers employment to ex-inmates who would have been released and fail to get employment in the formal sector.
The inmates raised concern that some private companies were not willing to employ them despite their skills and certificates acquired while serving their sentences. Prof Ncube assured the inmates that Government was seized with the matter and had several initiatives to help empower former inmates, especially youths.
“I was invited to visit Harare Central and Harare Remand Prisons to see for myself what sort of issues are in prisons so as Treasury can support that department,” he said.
“I was able to visit the workshop, seeing inmates picking up skills in carpentry, sewing uniforms, metal work assmebling motor cycles. They are picking up skills and there will be issued with certificates.
“The partnership between the ZPCS and Pereira speaks to the success of the PPPs. They are putting up a restaurant and take away and there is quite a lot of activity.”
Prof Ncube said the visit helped him as the steward of Government resources and finances to deploy resources where they are most needed.
“We are already availing funds. We have started with Chikurubi Maximum Prison. Once we have completed upgrading the prison, we will move to the next prison so we can impact each prison,” he said.
He added that Government has robust programmes for supporting youths in entrepreneurship through access to finance at EmpowerBank and the Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank, special venture fund or Youth Development Fund and other sources of finance.
“Within these institutions, we have built entrepreneurship courses to support inmates acquire business skills and manage their business sustainably. We are passionate about youth in farming, we are very supportive of youth in commercial agriculture and they can contribute towards the success of Vision 2030,” he said.
Comm-Gen Chihobvu said the visit shows Government’s commitment to improve the situation in prisons.
“We hope as has been the case, Government will continue to assist us after seeing the status of our prions,” he said.
Correctional Industries Manufacturers chief executive, Mr Pereira, said their partnership with the ZPCS was aimed at equipping inmates with skills as a way of rehabilitation.
“Our projects are meant to ensure when the prisoners comes out, we also help them with programmes that they can start if they do not want to come on board onto one of our projects.
“We have motor cycle assembling now we are opening a restaurant here. We are opening a showroom here and we are starting a dog breeding section. We are also going to start assembling generators and water pumps and this will be implemented at other prisons,” he said.