Guards live in fear after prison death

2009-08-12 00:00

GUARDS at the Pietermaritzburg New Prison fear for their safety and say they are working under dangerous conditions, after a prisoner there seriously injured a guard three weeks ago and killed a fellow prisoner on Monday.

The injured guard is still in the intensive care unit at a local hospital.

A source at the prison, who asked that The Witnessnot reveal his name, said because of the guards’ problems with the occupation specific dispensation (OSD) agreement, the prison has been operating with half of its normal staff as the others have gone on leave and this has left those who remained at risk.

“According to the new agreement, the ratio is one to 35, meaning one guard must look after 35 prisoners, but this is dangerous.”

The source said even the female guards are subjected to the same ratio, but have not complained as they fear losing their jobs.

“These are prisoners. If they are so violent and severely injuring other men, you can imagine what they will do to the female guards,” said the source.

Senior superintendent Henry Budhram of the SAPS also confirmed the incident.

He said that the instrument used in the assault was an iron pipe removed from one of the beds used in the hospital section of the prison where both the inmates were being housed at the time.


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