Ronald Lamola clears the air on inmates ‘studying for free at varsity’

Justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola says his department does not pay for inmates’ studies at tertiary institutions. File photo.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola has rubbished suggestions inmates will receive free tertiary education from government after passing matric.

This week Lamola announced the matric pass rate for those behind bars was 87.5%‚ an improvement of 10.5 percentage points from the previous year.

This is higher than the overall national pass rate of 80.1%‚ a trend for several years.

While some congratulated the inmates on their achievements‚ others claimed they would continue their studies at taxpayer’s expense.

“They will continue studying for free at varsity. Free education is only for them in this country‚ sadly‚” claimed one social media user.

Lamola hit back‚ saying his department does not pay for inmates to study further.

“Year in and year out‚ we always clarify that as the department of correctional services‚ we do not pay tuition fees for inmates at institutions of higher learning.”

He said funding came from inmates’ families and bursaries.

He also cleared the air on claims inmates were wasting their time studying because they would not be able to secure jobs once out of prison.

“While we understand employers can use their discretion when hiring people based on an objective and just criteria‚ we must also remember there is no law which says we should not employ people on account of a criminal record.”

He said former inmates must be upfront when applying for jobs.

“They must state they are people who have previously wronged the community‚ but they are remorseful and correctional services has reformed them.”


Source: ARENA Holdings.


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