Inspiring: Elsenburg honours 47 graduates from Voorberg Correctional Centre

by | Apr 7, 2022 | Article, Wineland

This month 47 offenders from the Department of Correctional Services Voorberg Centre outside Porterville graduated from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute.

The Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute has been providing skills development at this facility since 2019. Thirteen participants received a National Qualification in Plant and Animal Production NQF4, and 14 received a skills competency certificate. A further 20 received attendance certificates for various courses completed at Elsenburg.

This partnership was confirmed on 22 October 2022 with an operational agreement between the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and the Department of Correctional Services, paving the way for further capacity building interventions at correctional service facilities in the Western Cape.

WATCH: Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute

Elsenburg honours graduates

Speaking at the graduation, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer said:

“The Western Cape has three priorities: jobs, safety, and well-being. Today’s event is about the Western Cape Department of Agriculture contributing to creating a safer environment by ensuring that offenders are equipped with the necessary skills to contribute to our economy. We also restore dignity to the offenders and our communities by doing so.”

Regional Commissioner Delekile Klaas highlighted that crime prevention plays a crucial role in creating safer communities.

“By contributing to rehabilitation, we ensure that offenders acquire skills and find work. Self-sufficiency is important. Offenders must be able to produce what they eat. We have to train, skill and prepare them for the day they are released. I hope that this becomes an annual event,” says Klaas.

Meyer also urged graduands to plough back into their communities by starting vegetable gardens. “You are graduating from a great institution with an impeccable history of success. We expect that you plant something that you can give back to your community,” says Meyer.



Dr Ivan Meyer urged graduands to plough back into their communities by starting vegetable gardens.


Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute’s class of 2021 graduate:

ALSO READ: Minister Ivan Meyer notes concern over Russian, Ukraine invasion

On Monday, 7 March 2022, I met with Agri Western Cape, Vinpro, WOSA, the Fresh Producers Exporters Forum, GrainSA, the South African Table Grapes Industry, Citrus Growers Association, and the Wool Growers Association. I did so because I am concerned about the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the Western Cape’s agricultural trade.

The Russian and Ukraine markets contribute to South Africa’s foreign income derived from exports of agricultural products, with a significant share of these products coming from the Western Cape. South Africa’s agricultural exports to Russia and Ukraine combined were valued at R4.1 billion in 2020.

The horticultural products, oranges, pears, apples, mandarins, lemons, fresh grapes and wine containers holding 2 litres or less collectively contributed a share of R3.4 billion. About 88% of this value is attributable to the Western Cape, a dominant player in the horticultural sector.

The following immediate steps will therefore be taken:

  • The¬†Western Cape Department of Agriculture¬†(WCDoA) will approach the Bureau for Food and¬†Agricultural¬†Policy (BFAP) to monitor the development of blockages in the Western Cape‚Äôs agricultural value chain with due consideration to both our trade‚Äôs export and import. This will assist the sector in developing an appropriate response to the negative impact the conflict is having on the Western Cape‚Äôs agricultural trade.
  • During the Covid 19 pandemic‚Äôs height, the WCDoA closely monitored the province‚Äôs agricultural value chains. This approach will now be applied to this conflict.
  • Given that market access is an apex priority for the Western Cape, the agricultural sector will explore the market opportunities offered through the¬†African Free Trade Agreement¬†as a viable option to offset the potential negative impact of the Russian attack on Ukraine.
  • We are already engaging with DALRRD to ensure that a sector response plan is developed to support our producers in the short to medium term whilst constantly monitoring the conflict.

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