Prison: six warders suspended

2010-07-19 00:00

SIX officials from Westville Prison were suspended without pay for negligence that led to eight awaiting trial prisoners escaping earlier this year.

Another three warders, who were also found to be at fault in the prisoners’ escape from Medium A in March, were given final written warnings.

In total, 16 warders were suspected of having acted negligently, although six of them are still being questioned while one of them has been found not guilty.

Among the escapees was a serial killer from Umzinto, Thozamile Taki, whose attempt to break out failed when he broke his pelvis as he and others were jumping from the prison’s fourth floor.

Department of Correctional Service spokesperson Manelisi Wolela said the suspensions and issuing of written warnings started from May 27 to July 6.

He said warders were only suspended for a period of between one month and three months, depending on the degree of negligence. “In total, there were six officials who were suspended without pay. Three were suspended for three months, two were suspended for two months and one, who is probably back at work by now, was suspended for one month.

“The punishment depended on the degree of their negligence. We could not give them a harsher punishment because there was no finding that they actually aided the prisoners to escape,” said Wolela.

However, he said the punishment was good enough to send a strong message to negligent employees.

Wolela said some of the escapees were rearrested, although he was not in a position to reveal how many.

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