Dangerous criminals to be sent to Kokstad

2007-11-15 00:00

ome 200 of South Africa's most dangerous offenders are to be transferred to the country's most secure correctional centre - Ebongweni in Kokstad - by the end of November, Correctional Services Minister Ngconde Balfour announced yesterday.

Balfour said that 130 of the offenders being sent to Kokstad are murderers, 38 rapists, 30 robbers, one is an escapee and one was found guilty of assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm.

It has previously been reported that Kokstad's water supply is not adequate for the town and the prison.

Balfour was addressing a meeting of Parliament's portfolio committee on Correctional Services on the incidents and trends of escapes and security breaches.

He said the shifting of the offenders to Ebongweni Super Maximum Correctional Centre forms part of the festive season security plan, which has been code-named “Operation Vala”.

Balfour said the transfers are also a strategy by the department to deal appropriately with hardened criminals who pose a serious danger to society, officials and other offenders.

Minister Balfour and National Commissioner Vernie Petersen led a departmental delegation that briefed the committee on progress made in improving security, reducing escapes as well as steps to address challenges facing the department.

The department reported that over the past 10 years, escapes have gone down by 93% from 1 244 to 113 in 2006. Balfour said the department continues to send a clear message that unethical behaviour will not be tolerated in Correctional Services.

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