The extensive Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein, the capital city of South Africa’s Free State Province, provides almost 3 000 maximum security offenders with a school, chapel, hospital and academic facilities as well as regular meals and secure accommodation.

The Constitution of South Africa guarantees religious freedom and the rights of its citizens to practice their religion. This also applies to inmates housed at Mangaung Correctional Centre. Dawid Kuyler is responsible to ensure that all inmates’ religious affiliation is correctly registered and that they have opportunities to practice their religion. Currently inmates are registered for 36 different religious affiliations.

A program is available to inmates to give them at least two to three times per week the opportunity to meet at the Religious Care Centre to practice their religion. This includes religious worship services, faith studies, choirs and visits to the library to listen to audio recordings or to watch videos.

“To work as a Religious Care Manager for G4S in MCC means that one has to be a warder, a theologian, an expert on religions, a pastoral therapist, a manager and a jack of all trades. I enjoy my work because I am able to integrate my work and life experience with an academic career. In this way I can empower others for the work I am doing. That is very fulfilling.”

Dawid studied theology at the University of Stellenbosch from 1976 and obtained a BA, a BTh and a Licentiate in Theology and was licensed as a minister in November 1982. He started his ministry as a hospital chaplain at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town and accepted a call in January 1985 to the Dutch Reformed Mission Church – Koelenhof nearStellenbosch. This congregation consisted of farm workers. During this time he completed his Master’s degree at the University of Stellenbosch. Part of his ministry was to minister to the inmates in the prison within the congregation boundary.

From July 1989 he lectured in Church History and Church Polity at the University of Stellenbosch and was also responsible for the ministry to inmates at the prison in Stellenbosch.

In 1994 he received a call as chaplain to the Department of Correctional Services in the Northern Free State and was inducted as co-minister in the Uniting Reformed Church of SA Rust-ter-Vaal near Vereeniging. During his term of service he developed modules on Counselling law-offenders and victims for a Master’s course in Theology for the University of North West. In 1997, Dawid completed his doctorate in Theology.

In 2001, the Mangaung Correctional Centre in collaboration with the Uniting Reformed Church of SA Heidedal-Suid in Bloemfontein called him to be the first chaplain in a Private Partnership Prison in South Africa.

Dawid’s reporting manager had this to say regarding Dawid’s work, “Dawid has set the benchmark for Prison Ministry in South Africa. His duties extend to inside and outside of the correctional environment as he is an ordained Minister and also occupies the national position of scribe of the general synod of his church. Inside MCC, his administration and security conscientiousness is immaculate and he has a continued partnership with the faculty of Theology at the University of the Free State and Master’s students in pastoral therapy.”

Besides providing religious care to inmates, Dawid is responsible for the Community Outreach of MCC and chairs the Community Forum. The Community Forum received in 2011 the Peter Olszak Award for Community and Environment.

“I love teamwork and my work with G4S at MCC provides me with the opportunity of participating with diverse people in very different teams. Working for G4S Care & Justice Services South Africa will enable you to spend your energy on making a difference in the lives of others.”

Dawid describes his role with G4S Care & Justices Services South Africa at MCC as especially rewarding as it enables him to make a difference in the lives of others.