Speech by Commissioner General, 1st February 2014

Raphael T. Hamunyela 
Commissioner-General 
Namibian Correctional Service
 
Director of Ceremonies,
 
Honourable Immanuel Ngatjizeko, Minister of Safety and Security, Honourable Ministers present,
Honourable Members of Parliament, Honourable Cleophas Mutjavikua, Governor of Erongo Region,
General Evaristus Shikongo, outgoing Commissioner-General of the Namibian Correctional Service,
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Safety and Security, Dr. Ndeutala Angolo, Esteemed Service Chiefs, Distinguished Invited Heads of Correctional/Prisons Services, Your Worship Linus Garoeb, Acting Mayor of Omaruru Town
Honourable Mike Tjirare, Councillor of the Omaruru Constituency, Esteemed Senior and Junior Officers of the Namibian Correctional Service, Distinguished Invited Guests, Members of the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen;
 
With humility and a sense of gratitude, I feel honoured standing before you.
Let me take this opportunity to thank Almighty God who made it possible for all of us to arrive here safely and to be in a position to attend and witness this occasion, an occasion to mark the change of command in the Namibian Correctional Service; an institution established in terms of Article 121 of the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia.
 
On a higher note, I would like to express my gratitude and profound appreciation to His Excellency Dr Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia, for the high honour bestowed on me in appointing me the “Commissioner-General” of the Namibian Correctional Service. I thank him greatly for the trust and confidence he has shown in me. I therefore undertake to do my utmost best to continue building on the strong foundation and the legacy of service excellence that have been laid by my predecessors.
 
At the same moment, I would like to pay homage to the first Commissioner of Prisons in the Republic of Namibia, the late Commissioner Crispin Matongo for appointing me a warder during his term of office in the Namibian Correctional Service thereby providing me with an opportunity to grow through the structure to where I am, as I stand here. Late Matongo, laid a foundation for correctional service we find in Namibia today. This, I will treasure and nurture throughout my tenure.
 
In the same vein, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to my predecessor, Commissioner-General (Rtd) Evaristus Shikongo, my mentor, who was at the helm of our institution for the past 18 years. Commissioner-General Rtd Evaristus Shikongo, I commend you Sir. Your tireless effort has made possible the transformation of the Namibian Correctional Service into a highly functional entity focused on excellence in service delivery in Namibia Criminal Justice System. Your legacy will always be our reference. I salute you forever.
 
Director of Ceremonies, Ladies & gentlemen!
 
Experience has shown that the success of any institution depends highly on the dedication, hard work and commitment of its human resource. So is the Correctional Service. Its men and women will be the pillars of our success as we plan, manage and execute our programmes and activities.
 
As I assume leadership of the Namibian Correctional Service, I call upon all our correctional officers and staff members to redouble their effort as they support me in carrying out our mandate. We owe it to our leadership and the Namibian people at large to perform optimally at all levels in order to improve the quality and coverage of our services.
 
On that note, I call upon you to leave no stone unturned as we work hand-in-hand with the Office of the Minister of Safety and Security, other institutions in the criminal justice system, the public and all other stakeholders to fulfil the tasks bestowed on us as staff of the Namibian Correctional Service.
 
Director of Ceremonies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
The Namibian Correctional Service is tasked with the responsibility of contributing to the maintenance of law and order in the country by ensuring that those convicted and sentenced to Correctional Facilities, then Prisons, serve their sentences in a secure environment. In addition, it is our duty to provide an appropriate environment for rehabilitation, reformation and reintegration of offenders into society as law abiding citizens who can contribute to the social and economic development of our country.
 
My predecessor, Commissioner–General Rtd Evaristus Shikongo, has laid a solid foundation for the Namibian Correctional Service of which we are all proud of; as such, I will not be re-inventing the wheel. My duty will be to ensure that strategic and operational efficiency is effected through careful planning, timely implementation and monitoring of results and most of all, effective utilisation of human and financial resources at our disposal. At the same time, we must remain vigilant and alert to the evolving issues in the area of corrections. I have in mind issues, such as offender Risk need assessment, programming, restorative justice, community service, community supervision and successful reintegration. These are increasingly moving to the centre of the management and administration of correctional services globally. In this regard, Namibia must remain on the cutting edge of these developments in order to ensure that our procedures and processes remain current and in tune with the global trends. While preserving the values of service excellence, respect for human rights and efficient utilisation of resources, we must at the same time be ready and willing to embrace new approaches and best practices that can enable us to become better at what we do. That is the essence of progress which is at the centre of societal development.
 
Director of Ceremonies,
 
I pledge at my personal level, to continue working with sister organisations in the SADC Region, the African Continent and beyond, with the view to exchanging experiences and best correctional practices to improve and strengthen the operations of our institution.
 
I believe it is vital to re-emphasise the need to strengthen an ethic of hard work, service delivery and commitment by all our staff at all levels. Similarly, it is critical to the functioning of the Namibian Correctional Service for all correctional officers at all levels to embrace the values of integrity, honesty, and professionalism in carrying out their duties. As correctional officers, we are the face and voice of the institution. The way we conduct ourselves, reflects positively or negatively on the Namibian Correctional Service. Therefore, let us act in the manner that enhances the positive image of this reputable institution. Let us join hands to ensure that we are not found wandering in terms of fulfilling the duties entrusted to us.
 
In taking up my responsibilities, I commit myself to the Code of Conduct of Namibian Correctional Service in particular, and to the Public Service Code of Conduct in General. I commit myself to do my part to contribute to the maintenance of law and order and the rule of law in our country. I undertake that at all times I shall:
  • uphold the Constitution and the law of the Republic of Namibia;
  • be guided by the needs of the community;
  • give full recognition to the needs of the Ministry of Safety and Security, Namibian Correctional Service as employer; and
  • cooperate with the community and other stakeholders for the realisation of the vision and mission of Namibia Correction Service.
 
I undertake to utilize the resources at the disposal of the Namibian Correctional Service responsibly, efficiently and cost effectively in order to achieve desired institutional outcomes and maximise the impact of our service delivery.
 
My other priorities will include among others; –
  • Ensuring betterment and growth of my Correctional Officers to ensure equal opportunities for all;
  • Contributing to the socio-economic development of our country and to uphold the policy of reconciliation;
  • Upholding and protecting the fundamental rights of every person;
  • Acting impartially, courteously, honestly, respectfully, transparent;
  • Exercising the powers conferred upon me in a responsible and controlled manner; and
  • Working actively towards preventing any form of conduct contrary to what is provided for by Namibia Correctional Service code of conduct and to ensure the perpetrators, if any, are brought to justice.
 
I will not hesitate to hold accountable any officer who fails to live to the tenor and spirit of the Code of Conduct.
 
Director of Ceremonies,
Before I conclude my speech, I would like to give a special thanks to my family, and here, I want to make a special mention of my dear mother, my wife, my children and my entire family, for the love, care and support extended to me up to this day. I would also like to thank my friends and colleagues for standing with me during the good and difficult times.
 
Director of Ceremonies,
With the cooperation and assistance of the relevant authorities, the correctional officers and staff members of the Namibian Correctional Service as well as the public; I am confident that I will be able to effectively lead this institution into a modern performing organisation.
 
I thank you.