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JOASA Judiciary at BOSASA Youth Centres

8/5/2013

JOASA Judiciary Give BOSASA Youth Development Centres Thumbs Up

When the honourable judiciary of South Africa gives you the thumbs up you know you have passed extreme scrutiny. This is the experience of BOSASA Youth Development Centres this month. To the judicially unversed, JOASA is the Judicial Officers Association of South Africa. In a recent workshop held at Mogale Business Park, JOASA - in association with BOSASA Youth Development Centres and NICRO - dissected the prominent features of the Child Justice Act. Child and Youth Care Centres referrals are pivotal to the Act, so the judiciary need to know that they can refer with assurance. Magistrates and judges undertook a first-hand exploration of Mogale Youth Centre. We invite you to read and note their favourable comments:

Dario Dosio, Regional Magistrate, Soweto and Former National President, JOASA

The visit to the BOSASA Youth Centre was mostly informative purely because having met the young men that are being held there. I was quite astonished at the incredible programmes that are actually being facilitated in a sense that they are promoting a good sense of empathy in these young men. In a sense that when they are released, the rehabilitative process that they have undergone will definitely assist in the future, and they should not be caught up again in the criminal sector they were in previously.

I think the ability of them getting empowered in the various programmes that are offered at the BOSASA Youth Centre will assist them to stay away from crime. It will assist them to grow as men. They don’t necessarily have to have all the academic skills required to survive. They’ll have a good sound understanding and knowledge to make money and I think that it is the most empowering aspect. I also think the leadership that they are being taught in BOSASA Youth Centre is crucial and it will teach them how to teach others and in the same way to deter others from falling in the same trap that they did prior to the incarceration in the centre.

So I think it’s been an incredible journey today. I’ve learnt a lot from everything that’s happening and I’m grateful to BOSASA because they are actually giving these young men a new life and another chance, and at the same stage giving them an opportunity to excel in their future life in every way. I would like to thank BOSASA for the wonderful work. I encourage it to pursue this.

Mrs. Thando Mankge, Magistrate, Mamelodi

You know this was an eye opener for me.  It’s not the first time I am coming here to BOSASA but I’m feeling very emotional. Actually I feel like not talking because I’m very emotional about this whole thing. It has changed my mind set. It has transformed me within these few hours that I have been here. Really, I think I am going back to the bench a changed magistrate, a changed person.

What touched me the most is that when I arrived, Tumi Monale, your social worker, called one of my boys from Mamelodi who was referred to BOSASA and we talked to him. He was so arrogant before. I was saying to Tumi: I wish I had a before and after picture, so that I can show him a before and after because now he’s an after. I was saying to him, look how you are now after coming to BOSASA. I asked him: do you promise me that you will go out being a changed person? He said I am a changed person. And I said are you saying no to Nyaope (a street drug) and he said I don’t even want to hear that word. I’m glad that the social worker from here is coming to our courts next week to relate to us and I wish I can call other children to be there as well. Just to listen to how changed our boy is. I don’t want to mention his name but he came to me and we hugged each other and talked. But most of all, I like the programmes, that is why I was talking about the journey programme. I so wish all these boys can be referred to this centre so that they can learn from it.

I was asking Mrs Makoko that I understand you all working together for the same company and you have the same vision but tell me your secret. Why are you having one spirit? From the security at the gate up until I reached the room where I was going, people are singing one harmonious song, so to speak. How are you doing it? There was someone walking behind me when I commented about your work culture; he said you can feel the presence of God in this place. Even the man who was driving us to the youth centre said it starts from the management.

I wish you can take these kinds of facilities to the townships, where children are suffering from drug abuse and all that.  To tell you the truth before I came here, I thought the process was very complicated to refer a child to BOSASA but ever since I met Tumi, when we previously held the Child Justice Forum then we started to refer children to BOSASA. It’s not complicated; actually they are the ones (the children) who are gaining more than anything. Thank you very much guys, we appreciate it.

Judge TP Mudau, South Gauteng High Court

It is very heartening to see the kind of programmes that BOSASA has in place in the interest of the child, which to me talks to the provisions of the constitution, that the interest of the child comes first. From what I have heard this morning up to now I’m very pleased to see that you have programmes in place that seek to promote the interest of the child.

I have seen various programmes that you have in place, the workshops, the educational tools, that to my mind also addresses who in a short period of time has to leave your premises. It is also heartening to see that you also have programmes that seek to address an offender who may be here a little longer and wished to study further so that to me further seeks to suggest that it is an alternative place which is definitely better than your usual prison facility. I thank you.

Mrs. Benedict Matlhape, Magistrate, Pretoria North and Provincial Secretary of JOASA, Gauteng

JOASA is the judicial organisation of South Africa. I’m the one that was responsible for organising the workshop and to come and partner with BOSASA, to visit the centre and to conduct the workshop here. The aim of our workshop was to learn more about their programmes as we receive juveniles or deal with children in conflict with the law, so that we can equip ourselves as judicial officers especially with the law evolving, dealing with children, the Child Justice Act and so much more.

When we arrived here at BOSASA the programmes started and we were enlightened as to the various programmes that are run by BOSASA, the institution. Programmes ranging from the Matrix, whereby kids who are in conflict with the law especially involving drugs and those programmes educating children about sex and their sexuality and sex offenses. We learnt a lot as an organisation especially as judicial officers. I can simply say on behalf of the magistrates that this experience is going to help us when we go back and sit in our various courts going forward so that we don’t see those children that appear before us just as statistics but we see them as human beings with challenges.

The staff here at BOSASA is very professional. The environment is soothing and serene, it was a wonderful experience, I would really recommend it to any one and even I wish that I had attended this course. Thank you.

Mr. Joe Ngelanga, Magistrate and Lecturer at the Justice College and a member of JOASA

One of the courses I lecture on is the Child Justice Act and Child Justice in general. We have taken our task in our organisation of Magistrates, JOASA that we need to centralise the existence of non-custodial sentences or alternative sentencing because the traditional view is to lock up children in conflict with the law.

One of the views we wanted to take because there have been complaints by magistrates that there are no programmes, there are no facilities that offer alternative sentencing so we organised a workshop with the view that we want to sensitise and expose magistrates to some of these alternative sentencing regimes. We liaised with BOSASA Child and Youth Development Centre so that we can have time to look at their programmes. We also brought in NICRO to come and help and tell us about their programmes. We made presentations. We received presentations from NICRO on their programmes. We also received some presentations by BOSASA on the programmes they offer and what kind of children they deal with.

We went through Mogale Youth Centre and saw the facility. It is very accurate in screening. We were quite impressed by the facilities, the programmes they have, various workshops that they have, all the facilities offering work like welding, formal education, plumbing and all these kinds of services. We felt that there is a lot that we did not know. We felt that our coming here as magistrates and JOASA our purpose has been achieved. We have seen programmes that we can utilise in our sentencing as alternative sentencing options. We also felt that our colleagues out there, who did not come because of commitments, have missed a great opportunity. We hope that in future when we come, we will come with more of our colleagues so that every magistrate can have access to these programmes. Thank you.

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For further information please call the BOSASA Youth Development Centre Head Office on
+27 (0)11 662 6000 or send us an
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