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Prison bakery will save R 400 000 a year

| Crime and security

One bread at a time. That is how Brandvlei prison in Worcester plans to fulfil the department of correctional service's aim of becoming self-sufficient and ensure food security.

The department officially opened the prison bakery - established in October - on Friday 1st July 2016. Celebrating the start of Madiba month and giving back to the community, the offenders baked 1 000 loaves of bread that were donated to community organisations in the area.

Deputy Minister of Correctional Services Thabang Makwetla said: “Our gathering here today, is about celebrating one of our biggest milestones in making the ideals of uTata uMandela a reality, with offenders gaining critical life and technical skills in food production and bread making, while at the same time we are using what we have to make a difference in needy communities surrounding Brandvlei Correctional Centre.”

He said the baked bread provided an opportunity to create jobs and skills development for offenders.

“This bakery has the capacity to produce up to 1 700 loaves of bread per day to supply offenders in this centre as well as those housed in Breede River Correctional Centre. The bakery will deliver a loaf of bread at one-third of the open market rate and will help save up to R400 000 per year,” said Makwetla.

Bakery manager Leonard Bruce said the project was another way of reducing crime.

“The project is not only focusing at saving money for the department, it is also another way of fighting the rise in crime.

“We give them skills so they can be employed by companies or start their own businesses after serving their sentences.”

Bruce said: “Keeping the offenders busy also helps arrest chances of violence inside the cells.”

Prison warden, Natashia Moile, said she found working with the offenders in the bakery easier than in the cells.

“I always enjoy working with the offenders because they always show courage and commitment at what they do.

“They always appreciate the knowledge we are passing on to them, and they are always calm and easy to work with.”

The department aims at accrediting the bakeries, to ensure that offenders working in the bakeries would, in future, receive accredited training and a certificate as evidence of the skills acquired.

Wellington Gudu, 30, serving eight years, said: “It makes him feel happy to work in the bakery.

“I feel very easy at heart when I know someone out there needs my help, because some of the bread we make here is for donation to community organisations.”

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