Amathole Mmanagement Aarea commissioner Nolitha Mangxila bids farewell to the department of correctional services (DCS) at the end of September after serving for 38 years.
Mangxila made the announcement during a Women’s Month event held at Debenek when she led a delegation of officials and handed over wheelchairs and bedding to community members.
Mangxila was only 22 when she first joined the DCS. Before joining, she had worked in a temporary position with the department of agriculture (DoA).
Throughout her many years of service, Mangxila has been an inspiration to young women and has served as an instrument of change in the lives of other officials by encouraging them to further their studies and to love their jobs.
“I believe I was instrumental in the development and recognition of women and served as a positive example of a woman while serving in a leadership position in a male-dominated field,” Mangxila said.
Speaking about her fondest memories in her career, Mangxila said: “Travelling by train for the first time ever while attending my basic training in Baviaanspoort in 1981 and being one of the first 12 women to work for the Ciskei government.
“I also include attending an officer’s course in 1987 and returning home having passed all the exams because in those days, one would be sent back should you fail as there was no supplementary.”
Mangxila said she also remembers when, coming back from the officer’s course, she and her companions were nearly arrested at Germiston Railway Station after having defied the ‘Whites Only’ sign by sitting on the benches.
“An African policeman approached to remove us and we told him to call his bosses as we were officers who cannot talk to juniors and he never came back.”
She sees the biggest challenge facing the department as being the takeover of the correctional centres by gangsters and corrupt officials.
For Mangxila, the hardest part of her job was the treatment she experienced during the apartheid era.
“As an African, you had to drive at the back of the ‘Ggomma’ with both male and female offenders.” and officials.
“Only one or two could work in the office at a time and the unavailability of state accommodation on the premises for Africans was a problem,” she said.
“Losing officials due to road accidents whilst escorting offenders to court in Middledrift and Butterworth was very painful.”
Mangxila says she has served the department with pride and is proud of never being subject to through disciplinary procedures for wrong-doings, bad behaviour, corruption or dereliction of duty.
“I have developed myself up to an honours degree without using a study loan that was available from the department and in the 2017/18 financial year, the Amathole Management Area had no negative findings from the Auditor General and achieved 91% in strategic plan performance followed by an 81% in 2018/19.”
She said what kept her motivated was the passion and love she has for her job and mentioned that her plans for retirement are to spend more time with her family.
Her message to the incoming commissioner is “to be people- and goal-orientated, to remember that meetings are not to be war zones, but educational and to avoid gossip and rumours.”
She also encourageds newly appointed officials to love their job.