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MATSAPHA – “Burning of structures is Third World mentality,” says His Majesty King Mswati III.

The King said this during the commemoration of the 14th Correctional Services Day, which was held at Matsapha Correctional College yesterday, where he briefly spoke about people who burn structures. The King talked briefly about arsonists when he was commending the Correctional Services for its effort of aligning itself with the country’s vision of attaining First World status. He also appreciated that Matsapha Correctional Services Centre was undergoing major rehabilitation which would create an improved, safe and human detention facility.

He said they hoped the new structures would enable an upgraded intervention mechanism that would put to an end the notion that correctional centres were breeding grounds for hardened criminals. Thereafter, His Majesty said these development initiatives were in line with this year’s theme which puts meaning and gives practical evidence to; ‘Modernising correctional infrastructure towards improved interventions’.


He said this year’s theme (Modernising correctional infrastructure towards improved interventions) was a lesson that they as a nation should take leaf from, because they had to modernise all their infrastructure and technology in the country. The King said First World mentality was about modernising infrastructure, not burning it. “Ngoba loko ku (because that is) backward, kuyi (it is) Third World mentality,” the King said. It is worth noting that since the June/July 2021 unrest, the country has recorded a high number of arson attacks, which were believed to be politically motivated. The arsonists targeted mainly infrastructure, like houses and tinkhundla centres together with vehicles, like cars and heavy plant machinery and equipment.  
Thereafter, the King said he was pleased to note that all the department’s programmes were also in line with the theme. He said this was because he had seen the various treatment programmes that had been brought in working on offenders who were under their care. He said the programmes brought expected behaviour from the offenders and that was seen when they were being reintroduced back to their communities after being released.
He said offenders were people who had lost their footing in society and the correctional officers’ primary duty was to support and encourage them to abandon their criminal behaviour and embrace positive change in their lives.


The King added that this would enable them to live in harmony with their communities as law-abiding citizens and be productive. “Your success in this endeavour will break the cycle of repeat-offending and will greatly benefit the nation as the crime rate will subside and peace and stability will prevail,” the king said. In terms of technological improvement, the King said they were appreciative of the fact that the department was making inroads in the field of information, communication and technology (ICT). He said this would ease the workload on the ground and advance the services the department renders to its clients and the nation at large.

He said ICT comes with numerous interventions aimed at improving the way they conduct business and was vital in the security sector as it enhanced efficiency and effectiveness of administrative and operational tasks. Still on the First World mentality, which he said the people of Eswatini should have, the King said he was equally applaudable that the uniforms which the officers were wearing, was none other than the works of correctional services personnel. He said even the people who were brought to their care (offenders) also contributed to the sewing of the department’s uniform.


The King said previously, the department used to purchase uniforms from various vendors who were charging government enormous amounts of money. In fact, he said he was happy offenders who were kept in the correctional facilities participated in all the things which were produced in the centres and in the process, they learn skills which they use to brighten their future. The King commended correctional officers’ ability to rehabilitate and mould the lives of offenders as it was in line with international standards and requirements. In that regard, he said he had received a number of testimonies from various people who were in the warm hands of correctional officers. He said one of them recorded his testimony in a video clip and sent it to him.


He said the ex-offender was thankful about the care he received while serving his sentence at the correctional services facilities. In the video clip, the King added that the ex-inmate mentioned that the officers moulded him, changed his behaviour and treated him with exceptional care despite the bad things which he had done. Furthermore, the King said the work of the correctional officers did not end there, as they also took care of children who were brought for care within their walls. He said he had heard that some of them even excelled in their studies and did well internationally.

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