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					  The Keynote Address of Correctional Services Minister Ngconde
   Balfour at the first ever Innovation Unlimited Conference of the
           department held in Pretoria on 31 August 2008.

Programme Director
Deputy Minister of Correctional Services Madam Loretta Jacobus
National Commissioner of Correctional Services Mr. Vernie Petersen
Distinguished guests and partners
Members of the Executive Management Committee and other
managers
Correctional Officials
Ladies and gentlemen

After considering the theme of the conference as Innovation Unlimited –
Thinking Out of The Box as well as what I have personally witnessed, I
once again greatly appreciated the evolution of this Department since the
advent of Democracy and particularly over the last few years.


I appreciated the momentum gained by this institution in its endeavours to
transform itself into a correctional system that all South Africans could be
more proud of, instead of a dumping site for what society despises. I
believe that in our own way we have made a contribution to our advance
as a nation towards a better life for all and I am confident that we will not
rest on our laurels to celebrate yester achievements, while challenges
remain huge and very daunting.


When we struggled for freedom and democracy in order to be key
determinants in the creation of a democratic, nonracial, nonsexist and a
prosperous nation, all our endeavours were on the principle of collective
human solidarity.



             Draft Speech – Minister Balfour – Innovation Unlimited Conference
                                        Page 1 of 6
We sought to build a new society, not just a society that is better than
apartheid. A society whose destiny is not driven by self righteous elites,
but is based on the will of the people who themselves are the key players
is shaping such a destiny. We are coming from a school of thought that
says, unless the will of the people is not just in words but indeed,
development cannot be sustainable.


Indeed we have made strides over the years with the introduction of new
systems aimed at improving security, performance management,
enhancing greater interface with society and efforts to build a new crop of
correctional officials in thinking and attitude.              A combination of these
interventions enhanced rehabilitation, reduced escapes substantially
while mainstreaming of corrections in the national development debate.


President Thabo Mbeki articulated the challenge of this period in our
society when he said:


     “All of us, …. should turn our backs on routine, It means that we
     must repudiate the comfort zones that have encouraged us, literally
     to rest on our laurels, arising from the fact that we have seen and
     can quantify the positive results of our work during the short years
     of liberation … We must, once again, reposition ourselves as
     innovators, who dare to challenge the proven truths that our
     successful practice, to date, has established as proven truths.”




             Draft Speech – Minister Balfour – Innovation Unlimited Conference
                                        Page 2 of 6
I want to describe all what has been achieved to date as the new
beginnings of a long journey of decades of a new struggle, a struggle for
a better life for all people of South Africa. The initiative to organise this
ground breaking conference, tells me that we have the embryo of the new
crop of correctional officials envisaged in the White Paper on Corrections.
Those that will not rest of their laurels to celebrate GOOD OLD DAYS
while loathing to lift a finger to help our nation and our department to
realise the new vision.


I strongly believe, that through organising this conference to build a
platform for greater sharing of innovative ideas and projects, you have
demonstrated that seeds are geminating towards a Correctional System
that sees itself as inseparably linked with the society it serves.                A
correctional system that cries with babies that go to bed hungry and
without hope of where the next meal will come from, that share the pain of
those without a shelter over their heads especially during very hard times,
that appreciates that the millennium development targets to deal with
poverty are central delivery of corrections and rehabilitation programmes,
and a correctional system that knows that our broader national ideals will
not materialise through miracles without lifting a finger.


Our continued evolution as the department must be defined firmly within
broader national deliberations aimed at self rediscovery, debates aimed at
continuously defining the kind of society we want to build as South
Africans.




              Draft Speech – Minister Balfour – Innovation Unlimited Conference
                                         Page 3 of 6
The foundation of this democratic government, as outlined in the
Constitution and various pieces of legislation and policies, is to build a
society with entrenched “moral values and human compassion and
solidarity” (ANC Strategy and Tactics – Dec 2007).                            Through this
conference you have demonstrated your depth of understanding these
ideals.


I therefore wish to appeal to all those helping to shape various constructs
or labels about Correctional Officials to know that an overwhelming
majority of these officials are good citizens who share a passion for a
better, secured and ethical system of corrections. We have embarked on
a programme of identifying these, bring them to the fore, and call on
everyone of you to join in celebrating. It is critical to do that because we
must build a critical mass of likeminded correctional officials who will not
look the other way when atrocities against humanity are perpetrated,
when hunger and poverty ravages our communities, when corruption
continue to rear its ugly head in our facilities, and when overcrowding
continues to thwart rehabilitation and human development efforts of this
department.


These unsung heroes and heroines embody the emergence of an ideal
correctional system. I am sure being part of this historic occasion will
inspire many of you to emerge from the madding crowds of mediocre
performers, in order to be counted as what Tat’uMandela called extra-
ordinary South Africans.




              Draft Speech – Minister Balfour – Innovation Unlimited Conference
                                         Page 4 of 6
As Tat’uMandela had ably stated in his book, after reaching the mountain
top and freeing our nation, we have come to realise that there are many
more mountains to climb and valley to cross before reaching our
destination.


With the identification of these examples of great innovations in the
department, I am sure even those unable to see beyond the Mammoth of
overcrowding, deaths and rapes in facilities, increasing levels of violent
offenders incarcerates in our centres, will regain their faith that through
chipping off small chunks we will ultimately see and realise our goals.


I will request the National Commissioner to establish an Innovation Board
of Correctional Services that will help provide leadership to this campaign
whose time has arrived – Ke Nako. We must create an environment that
nourishes innovation and fully recognises these steps as an integral part
of building a new culture of looking beyond the constraints and problems.
The Board will serve as a catalyst, but the key to our success is held by
local leadership and management in Correctional Centres, where the
difference must be made with direct impact on communities, offenders
and on how the Department manages service delivery.


In few minutes time, I will be demonstrating that Correctional Services is
by no means a small player in the technological advancement and
innovation with a potential for fundamentally changing the way we do the
business of corrections and rehabilitation.




               Draft Speech – Minister Balfour – Innovation Unlimited Conference
                                          Page 5 of 6
I will be launching an Innovation Portal of Correctional Services when you
have been appropriately briefed. We are at an advanced stage as well to
establish a National Contact Centre.


Please do not be misled to think that innovation is only about technology.
I appeal to you to listen carefully at those instances to be presented at the
conference and also to tour our exhibitions for more innovation.


Join us in celebrating our efforts to throw away the box because it is too
limiting for innovation. We must flaunt the ideas and various innovations.
We are a force to be reckoned with.


I thank you.


END




               Draft Speech – Minister Balfour – Innovation Unlimited Conference
                                          Page 6 of 6

				
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