'I'm nervous' says convicted rapist who wrote matric exams inside prison

26 November 2019 - 14:31 By Orrin Singh
Inmates at Westville prison wrote their final matric exam paper on Tuesday morning.
Inmates at Westville prison wrote their final matric exam paper on Tuesday morning.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

While thousands of matriculants wrote their final exam on Tuesday, a man convicted of rape and attempted rape and a matric hopeful said he was nervous about his results. 

Bheki Gwala was just one of hundreds of inmates in KwaZulu-Natal who have been afforded the opportunity to further their studies while serving a prison sentence. 

"As I was writing my exams you get those goosebumps. I'm nervous because I'm still waiting for my results. But I'm confident that I will pass and get the results that I am looking for because I've been studying the whole year." 

Matric hopeful Bheki Gwala is serving 10 years in prison after being convicted of rape and attempted rape.
Matric hopeful Bheki Gwala is serving 10 years in prison after being convicted of rape and attempted rape.
Image: Screenshot

Gwala was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in 2012 after being convicted of rape and attempted rape. 

He said he wanted to pursue a career in computer systems upon his release.

"We are in 4IR now and there is nothing we can do here (in prison). You need to equip yourself while we you are here so that when you go out you have education, you have skills so it will be easy to be integrated into society." 

Gwala spoke to TimesLIVE at Westville prison during an oversight visit by the MEC for education, Kwazi Mshengu. 

Mshengu interacted with inmates writing their last examination paper at the facility, and highlighted that it was crucial for successful reintegration into society.  

He said Westville prison was just one of the examinations centres in the province. 

MEC for education Kwazi Mshengu hands out the final exam paper to an inmate writing matric at Westville prison on Tuesday morning.
MEC for education Kwazi Mshengu hands out the final exam paper to an inmate writing matric at Westville prison on Tuesday morning.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

"Over the past three consecutive years we have registered a 100% pass rate in this facility, and we are quite confident that even this year we will obtain a 100% pass rate."

He said the department of education played an crucial role in the reintegration of inmates into society. 

"We want to contribute to the rehabilitation process by giving them the education and skills that will make them responsible and useful members of communities when they walk out."

Mshengu said he couldn't comment on whether inmates would be successful in being employed, but stressed  it was part of government's job to ensure they receive the necessary skills for reintegration. 


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