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To form mutually beneficial partnerships as stipulated in its ENVISION 2030, Durban University of Technology (DUT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Correctional Services (DCS) in the Council Chambers at ML Sultan Campus on Tuesday, 10 November 2020. 

In the signing ceremony, DUT was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Sibusiso Moyo meanwhile the KZN DCS was represented by Nelson Lukhele from the Development and Youth Centre, on behalf of the Acting Area Commissioner, DJ Makhaye. 

Among the guests who were present was Kuben Pillay from the KZN DCS Education and Training Durban Management, Director: Human Resource Development Council from the KZN Office of the Premier, Nompumelelo Madonda, DUT’s Dr Themba Msukwini from the Department of Co-Operative Education, Technology, Transfer and Innovation Director, Prof Kelebogile Motaung and DUT Research Director, Dr Linda Linganiso. 

The MoU states that it is the goal of the KZN DCS to rehabilitate and re-integrate prisoners into society. The rehabilitation and re-integration may be achieved in full or in part by skills development and training. It is the mandate of DUT to provide tertiary education, skills development and training and to foster collaborations in KZN as agreed in its collaboration agreement with the Office of the Premier in KZN. The two parties signed the MoU to seal their partnership in achieving these goals. 

Prof Moyo said both parties agreed that DUT will facilitate interaction between the KZN DCS and DUT’s regional, national and international partners. 

“We should ask ourselves how relevant are the skills we are giving to these youth, if we say they should re-integrate as part of society. To what extent can we use some of the networks that we have within the country or internationally, to provide training so that they are able to compete to start up their own enterprises. We know that getting jobs is difficult, especially in our province where more than 50% of the youth are unemployed. One of the things we are driving as DUT is around entrepreneurship and innovation. When we train students we want them to position themselves as part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, so that they are able to make a living for themselves,” said Prof Moyo. 

She said DUT does not want its students, even the youth within its immediate communities to end up looking for jobs that do not exist, but they must be able to create jobs and become productive citizens in the region. 

Prof Moyo added that she believes that even as inmates, the youth have a potential to create jobs for fellow youth who have had similar experiences. 

“The Department of Correctional Services will facilitate access to prison inmates on a structured basis provided timeous arrangements are made and prison security is not compromised. This information is related to students who could access training within that sector. I do understand that there are facilities there that could be used for training. DUT will provide skills development programmes for Correctional Services staff as well as students in the rolling out of its operations. The greater opportunity comes in terms of providing work experience opportunities and relevant career advice for students.  Our students can also get opportunities for work experience” said Prof Moyo. This was also reiterated by the Acting Director: Cooperative Education, Dr Themba Msukwini.

Madonda from the Office of the Premier said without DUT they would not be aware that there are a lot of Human Resource Development activities taking place in the Westville Correctional Centre.  

She said they have signed a cooperation agreement with DUT and when DUT is entering into other agreements, it becomes interesting for them to see that the network is becoming wider. 

“ As a result of what was revealed to me through DUT, we have since looked at other facilities doing training and skills development, in the form of specialised colleges that we were not focusing on. We hope to come up with tangibles after this relationship has been cemented,” said Madonda. 

Pillay said they are looking forward to working with DUT in improving the lives of inmates and staff at the DCS to have relevant skills they can apply outside.  

Pictured: DUT’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagements, Prof Sibusiso Moyo and Nelson Lukhele from the Development and Youth Centre at the KZN Department of Correctional Services signing the Memorandum of Understanding. 

Simangele Zuma  

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