HONOURED: Warders who had been in correctional services for 20 years or more were recently recognised with awards. Picture: PHUMLANI THABETHE
It's not the most glamorous of jobs, the risks are often high but at last the efforts of the men and women who work in prisons and related services in the province have been recognised.
The provincial correctional services department honoured 1294 officers with long-service awards at a ceremony in Durban.
Regional commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele congratulated the officers who were exposed to "the bad and good of correctional services by the virtue of having served in the old and new South Africa".
He said an experimental study conducted recently found that 25% of employees leave their organisations if they don't get recognition.
"These long-service men and women we are honouring today during apartheid endured many years of pain, hardship and suffering because of naked discrimination in the correctional services at the time.
"In spite of this, they remained steadfast in their commitment to their work and serving South Africans. They did not allow the difficult and bitter experience to demoralise and demotivate them and thus leave the service.
"We are therefore recognising these heroes and heroines who have proved that patience is indeed a virtue," said Nxele.
Those honoured were officers who had served 20 years or more in the correctional services department. They were based in several correctional centres in the province.
Speaking after receiving his certificate, one of those honoured, Westville Prison warder Thamsanqa Hlongwa who has 23 years of service, said he had remained for so long despite the hardships because he wanted to serve the nation.
"Because of my commitment to contributing to nation building and rehabilitating offenders, I have stayed on," said Hlongwa.
"At least I will have something to show others as a result of my perseverance. And my name will go down in history."