I thank the magistrate
In 2012 December, I was charged for Crimen Injuria offence after a misunderstanding that I had with the victim. My case was dealt with by the Empangeni court. The magistrate then decided to send me to NICRO Empangeni. On My arrival at Empangeni NICRO, I got in contact with a Social worker, Mrs Zondi who assisted me throughout. The worker engaged me in three counselling sessions on conflict management. In addition to that, she arranged for me to meet with the victim so as to reconcile and ask for forgiveness. In our meeting for reconciliation.
The discussion was tense because the victim was still angry and appeared not accepting my apology. However, I will like to thank Mrs Zondi for her skills and guidance she brought in ensuring that the victim and I ended up reaching a mutual understanding regarding the matter. The learning and skills I acquired from NICRO was that, I needed to learn to behave correctly, give respect to either old or young persons and to have an appropriate way to deal with challenging situations.
I have now changed my behaviour patterns because of NICRO and I am encouraging other colleagues at work to do the same. I am doing this by providing them with the information on how hard was it for me to attend court, my inability to support my family financially as I was not getting paid for the days I was at court and the physical stress I underwent.
I would like to thank the Magistrate who gave me the second chance, to learn about my behaviour and work with NICRO. It is my request that other Magistrates may also give other offenders who committed similar offences an opportunity to start afresh through NICRO programs. I will be pleased if other people whose been in conflict with the law like me, if they may read my letter. I am encouraging everyone who is still portraying an unacceptable lifestyle to stop doing that because the law is there and not everyone may get that opportunity to be referred to NICRO for rehabilitation.
My plans are to commit myself to church and to stick to the knowledge I received from NICRO. As well I need to extend my apology to the victim and thank him for humanity he had shown through mutual agreement we reached.
NICRO was the right decision
Here I am since I have to go to NICRO. My life it has been change because of you. Now I am good person because of the following. I don’t use drugs, I don’t use alcohol etc. People from NICRO tell me the instructions about how you could protect yourself from drugs. And since I have work walk a long way my life it has been change because I have never done wrong things. And that means I am proud of you. And since I have come to the jail, I know to smile and laugh with the people and my family also, and know I feel happy.
Know I take the right decision because I have seen what is wrong and what is right. Know I am person and I love my friends and my girlfriends. I love her and its better to have someone that guide you to the wrong things like violence. Now I am the man I have to feel the pain and that I feel I will never and never forget it in my life. It was hard to me.
Thank you. And I will never forget you.
I love you because you help me and I don’t know what I could makes for you.
The first time I went to NICRO I was under impression that I’m going to be treated like a criminal, irresponsible and cold hearted person only to find that I was wrong, the treatment I got is awesome and warm. My social worker also gave me what I needed most in all the times she is being a mother to me, she is the chosen one into my life and today I know what is up or down, what is high or low I know what is bad and what is good for me to succeed in my life.
NICRO programme is also like collage/university that I can get my Masters and Honours, today I can build my life and career around and within NICRO.
Thanks to _____ to show me right way of doing things also to show me the door steps of NICRO, Thank YOU!
I have learn't so much from the NICRO programme
The complete experience, the court, the long period from 2012 to now, has been very frustrating. It all could have been prevented if I did not drive while under the influence. It is a period in my life that I want to forget and just move on, lesson learnt, and never to be in such a position again. I also have a spare room in my house and lately I make my friends sleep over. We all feel better that way.
A valuable lesson is that even if I do not get involved in an accident whether it is your fault or not, fingers point to the person that consumed any amount of alcohol that was driving. All in all, I think that NICRO did a sterling job to make my eyes open to reality.
Drinking and driving is a prime road offence and anyone can learn a lot from this programme.
A Chance to Change
Firstly, I would like to thank NICRO for allowing me this opportunity to talk about myself.
My nightmare started about four years ago. My mother was diagnosed with dementia after a stroke. My husband had met the wrong friends and started using tik. I had just discovered that I was pregnant with my 2nd child. My family has never supported me in any way since my mom got ill.
Financially and emotionally I was in a total mess. I had so many expenses that need to be covered especially since I had to have someone full time looking after my mom. I was the sole bread winner in the household because my husband by that time had left whenever he felt like it. I had started frauding monies to help with my monthly expenses. The company had laid a charge against me and I admitted to what I have done. After explaining my situation to the court I was so lucky that the magistrate had given me a suspended sentence. I had made the worst mistake in my entire life. I had before felt so depressed that I often thought I wanted to commit suicide but God had given me a second chance now and it was up to me to fix it. I battled for the two years now even getting to my community service on Sundays as I always had to look for someone to look after my mom. But I made it.
I started attending the NICRO programme. At first I thought this is a waste of time. But believe me I was surprised at what I have learnt there. I have never thought and never realized that I was physically fine but emotionally and mentally I needed help. NICRO’s social worker made me understand so much about myself and how to deal with my problems that I have always hidden and never spoken out. I had always just blocked out the bad things about my life but never knew how to deal with them. I have learned to deal with various situations also that as hard as you try you can never change people. For years I have been praying and trying to change my sister but could not because she does not want to change. I have learnt that we have to make the right CHOICES to better our lives. The choices I make are the ones that will forever reflect on my life. Then I want to take on CHALLENGES. And if I take on the challenges I will get to my goals.
Then there is the Correctional Services. The correctional officers have encouraged me such a lot. Whenever they do there visits they would always congratulate me in doing so well by staying clear of violations also encouraging me in keeping my record clear with them. Always asking me about my mom and how she’s doing and even how I was doing. If I need to talk I can just pop in and that made me feel warm and that there are people out there that really do care about me. You know that since I attended this lifeskills programme at NICRO I have become so different. I’m not that stressed anymore and also whenever I get to situations that make me angry, frustrated especially with my family. I was worried at how people judge me today knowing that I have a criminal record. Also going out for jobs and they see you have a criminal record and they say no there’s no jobs. NICRO and the notes that I took whilst there helps me. I always go back to what I have learnt there.
I have set goals for myself whilst at NICRO and today I am proud to say that I have achieved a lot. Firstly I got my mom in a day-care centre that deals with Alzheimer’s people. Since I received my sentence the company that I worked for has not paid me cents even my last salary and leave monies. I would like to find out are they allowed to do that to me. The wage clerk kept on telling me that they were going to sort me out after my sentence is completed with my UIF documents etc after phoning her on numerous occasions. I am also currently waiting on an answer from the Council as I have applied for a subsidy so that I can buy my mom’s house and utilize the monies on her and her needs.
I have already started submitting my CV’s to companies for a job. I would however like to open my own company one day as I am also doing research on that. I am also proud that I have completed my community services successfully with a great thank you from the staff at the ——- Old Age Home. Also that I have now reached my Phase 4 stage with the Correctional Board without any violations.
By getting a suspended sentence I thank God for giving me a second chance so that I could better my life. I have done wrong and that is something I am not proud of. It will stay with me for the rest of my life. But I thank the magistrate too for not sending me to prison. What would have happened to me?
I have met ladies that have been jailed and today cannot settle in the outside world. They don’t even know how to handle there own kids. The kids don’t know them. I wish that there could be more opportunities for others to be able to get a sentence like I have so that they too could attend programmes like these. You know sometimes jail don’t rehabilitate people. We can. We just need help each other with a shoulder to lean on and someone to talk to.
Once again thank you NICRO, the correctional services and the programme that has helped me change my Life.
Safety Ambassadors at My School
Statistics indicate that 5% of Grade 9 learners carried weapons to school. The NICRO Safety Ambassadors at Tisand Technical High School found this quite disturbing and decided to conduct an informal research exercise amongst their peers and started a debate on school safety. Their findings are contained in the extract below, compiled by Veronica Barnes, Safety Ambassador Programme Secretary.
We as Safety Ambassadors have become aware of the causes of an unsafe school environment. Learners bring drugs and weapons to school and become aggressive when they abuse drugs. Lack of security in the school has encouraged outsiders to sell drugs at the school and they gain access through the holes in the fence. Bullying is also one of the reasons that make learners feel unsafe and uncomfortable about being at school and that can lead to a school dropout.
The ensuing debate became a very constructive discussion with many solutions, some of which are contained in the summary provided by the Safety Ambassadors.
Tisand learners reported that they can enhance school safety by ensuring that no one passes through the gate with dangerous weapons such as knives or guns. They also said that by creating a friendly school environment for all learners without bullying will ensure safety at school. Bullying was explained as a dangerous game which can lead to school dropouts, and to revenge attacks. The learners also motivated for an increased number of security personnel.
Students expressed their worry and anxiety about the holes on the school fence because it allows outsiders to come in and go out through these holes without any permission. Safety Ambassadors raised this concern with the school authority. The importance of knowledge about incarcerated life was emphasised as it will act as a deterrent to offending behaviour. The consequences of offending behaviour are incarceration as well as poor quality of life. Learners were urged to report those in school who violate the code of conduct.
The learners indicated their satisfaction with the NICRO Safety Ambassadors Programme at their school. The programme makes them feel safe as the future of the nation. Many learners also want to join the Safety Ambassador Programme to bring about change in other youth. ANON
My Life Was In Shambles
When I was 15 years old I got mixed with wrong friends and eventually I found myself in the back of a police van. Then I thought my life was over until NICRO came to my rescue. I was given a chance and shown a better way. For 3 years I have been saved and taken out of harm’s way. Now I am doing grade 12 and one of the best learners at my school and it’s all thanks to NICRO. I dedicate this year to NICRO. ANON
A Bright Future, Thanks to NICRO
NICRO programmes were relevant to me because I now know bad things and good things in life. I respect my parents and the entire community. I know how to handle or stabilise my temper if bullying people have more powers over me. NICRO programmes gave me courage to pass my matric last year. I am currently studying at the University of Limpopo; a career that I have chosen to follow is Bachelor of Education. I am looking forward to studying hard.
I really like to thank NICRO programmes they made me what I am today. NICRO programmes helped me to stay very far from criminal activities. They have made me to achieve goals that any young person of South Africa is willing to achieve. ANON
I Thought I Knew Better
“I, (name withheld), a rehabilitated young man, benefited and learned a lot from NICRO programmes. I am now a better person living a positive honest life. In the past I used to be cheeky and violent sometimes. Through NICRO I managed to stop all the wrong things I used to engage in.
I was referred to NICRO by Seshego magistrate court after I stole my father’s firearm. I thought I knew better, did as I wished, but now I have given up and I am proud to say “I know better”. Thanks to NICRO. I am currently studying Marketing Management at Capricorn FET College and I am doing very well. Thank you for giving me a second chance”. ANON
I Changed A Lot
Since I started at NICRO I have changed a lot. It helped me to stop the use of drugs (dagga). It helped me to be more connected with my family and siblings. I managed to stay away from violence and stealing other people’s property. I avoided all those by spending less time with friends and more time doing school work so as my chores at home.
I am now in my top position in class and doing my best at sports. The most important thing about NICRO is that you feel right at home in terms of feeling free with everything that is happening. The teachers were generous and friendly too. You can talk about anything and it remains there no-one is being harsh to attendees. If there was a way of expressing the way I feel about NICRO I would have shown it already.
NICRO is the place to go and find out all the good deeds you can do to stay from doing wrong doings to the community. The support you get there is pleasing a lot. NICRO will not take too much of your time just once a week and the sessions don’t interfere with you school work.
Once you have completed all the sessions you will know how I am feeling at this moment. I would encourage all the young offenders to attend the sessions with an open heart and you will see the good that will come out of you. ANON
I Turned my Life Around
Since my offence and through NICRO and the Road Offences Panel, I have learnt the true dangers of not only drinking and driving, but also reckless driving. The statistics are very real and scary and if we as a country were all to attend this programme, I believe a lot of lives would be spared and injuries minimised. I have had to take into account that my actions could have caused serious injury or even death and that has really opened my mind, eyes and heart to personally change and to definitely not drink and drive. It is simply not worth the risk to others, myself, family and friends. I really appreciate the knowledge I have received during the NICRO sessions to better my life and future decisions. I can only hope by sharing what I learnt with others, we can slowly but surely make the roads a safer place. Thank you to all who have taken their time to pass this knowledge to me and for those funders who have made this service possible.
It really shocked me to know how many deaths are on our roads and that as drunken drivers we are responsible for a lot of these deaths. As we are responsible for our actions, we have to make a difference to these statistics and keep to the road rules and regulations. When people realise that each and every one can take responsibility to change these statistics, I think that we will win this war. So as a driver on our national roads, I’ll stick to the regulations and talk to all my friends to do the same so that they can help me to make a difference.
It has been around 4½ years since my arrest. I started with my community service – scrubbing penguins – and ended up in the Road Offences Panel. My involvement with NICRO really opened my eyes to the harm that can come from drunk driving. This is the best thing to ever have happened to me. I now have respect for the law, the safety of all those on the road around me and above all, I have learnt to take responsibility for my actions. I have grown up a lot from this experience and I will never again touch a drink before I drive. I think this is necessary for people to go through this and realise the effects of a bad mentality, i.e. thinking that drinking will not influence your driving. Thank you to the social workers from NICRO (Simon, Mfundo, Henry) and all those involved in the programme for all your time, passion and support. You are making our roads safer. ANON.
Adv. C Van der Vijver, Senior State Advocate
“This office often receives representations where it is clear that the offender must be given a second chance, but at the same time the seriousness of the offence must be brought to the attention of the offender. In such circumstances this office requires as part of the output, rehabilitation and subsequent prevention. This programme meets all the requirements and is a huge asset for the criminal justice system,” says Adv. C Van der Vijver, Senior State Advocate.
Following a criminal charge of theft (shoplifting) laid against him in 2011, Bandile* (not real name) was referred to NICRO Nelspruit. He was carefully assessed and found suitable to participate in NICRO’s adult life skills programme, which he completed successfully. A year later Bandile sent an application for employment to Nedbank. He was shortlisted and called in for an interview. Bandile reported that he openly discussed his previous conflict with the law and the intervention that he had received from NICRO at the interview. He explained that at the time of committing the offence he had “given up on life” and was strongly considering dropping out of school in Grade 11 but that NICRO gave him the chance to look at life “from a different perspective”. He was not ashamed to admit to his wrongdoings and eagerly shared that NICRO had taught him essential life skills which resulted in his refraining from committing antisocial and other criminal acts.
Nedbank called NICRO for a reference and the programme co-facilitator who has worked closely with Bandile had no qualms about giving the young many a glowing reference and very positive feedback about the time he spent at NICRO. A week later, Bandile called with the good news that he had been employed by Nedbank.
He expressed his deep appreciation for all that NICRO had done for him and expressed the opinion that he would never have had the chance of securing a job, had it not been for NICRO!
NICRO Came to My Rescue
“I, Malefu* (not real name), am a success story of NICRO. I have learned that crime does not pay whatever you are doing the true and honesty is more important. I have taking items from persons that does not belong to me to feed my drug habit – but I was not only assist in a life skills programme but assisted to get help for my drug addiction. I have attended a drug rehabilitation centre and after that I attended the Life Skills programme at NICRO.
This is what I have learned: In some of the sessions we were talking about decision making – what I have realise is that my decision can influence my life. Secondly, I have learned that respect for you and others are important. I also have learned that you get different types of behaviour namely, passive, aggressive or assertive and it is the best to develop the behaviour of been assertive especially when you need to say no to drugs.
I am living for the last six months a drug free life and am employed. A big thank you to NICRO for given me a second change”.