Africa-Press – Botswana. The disciplined forces ought to be accorded decent housing in order for their members to efficiently deliver on their mandate.

Minister of Defence and Security, Mr Kagiso Mmusi, thus remarked on Tuesday during the Botswana Prison Service groundbreaking ceremony for the refurbishment of staff houses at Gaborone Prison Complex.

“The renovation of staff houses is not only about improving infrastructure, it is also about investing in the wellbeing of our personnel who play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety, security and rehabilitation as well as reintegration of inmates within our facilities and by extension, our society.”

He said it was important to look after staff, adding that improving conditions of work was the responsibility that the ministry must always seek to accomplish.

He said improved staff accommodation contributed to a positive atmosphere, thereby significantly enhancing the mental and emotional wellbeing of staff members.

Mr Mmusi, who is also Gabane/Mmankgodi legislator, said such state of affairs resulted in improved morale and enhanced productivity.

He said the P1.64 million project would be done using prison labour, which would reduce costs and lead to inmate skills acquisition as it would give prisoners an opportunity to put newly acquired skills to practice.

The Commissioner of Prisons, Mr Anthony Mokento said the renovation project depicted the deep concern the commission had for the staff.

Mr Mokento said the project would assemble 26 artisans including builders, carpenters and plumbers as well as 65 inmates for the purpose of training and gaining of experience.

He said some of the inmates would undergo trade testing while some had already undergone such. He said the trade testing would assist the inmates to prepare for integration into the society after their release.

For her part, permanent secretary in the ministry, Ms Pearl Ramokoka said the project, which included six houses, would decongest institutional houses and accord the officers decency and dignity.

She said in January, newly built 14 housing units were handed over to the prison service, which she said was a clear indication that the department really valued staff welfare.

Furthermore, she applauded the prison service, saying it was one part of government machinery that aligned to the Presidential Agenda.

“Refurbishment of these houses using prison labour is a commendable initiative,” Ms Ramokoka said.

Upon renovation completion, the house will each have three bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room while a shower ablution and a toilet will be shared by three officers.

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