Prisoner stabs social worker

2011-04-08 00:00

A SOCIAL worker at Pietermaritzburg’s Medium A Prison (New Prison) was stabbed several times by an inmate last Friday morning.

The attack occurred in the prison’s juvenile section in G-block while the inmates were cleaning the prison cells and corridors.

A source who asked not to be named said Bongiwe Ndlovu was in a meeting when the phone in her office rang. She went to answer it and Fanifani Memela (20), who was standing near the office door, attacked her.

“As she was about to enter the office, the inmate attacked her, stabbing her in the neck, the back of the head and the upper body using a sharpened broken bottle.

“Where did he get the bottle and what security measures are in place to protect warders and other personnel in the prison? The fact that a prisoner can slip away from under the guards’ supervision is an indication that security is lax in that prison,” said the source.

Ndlovu was taken to St Anne’s hospital, but released later after being treated, the source said.

Hospital spokesperson, Shubnum Ishmael, confirmed that Ndlovu was brought to the hospital, treated and discharged the same day. She did not describe her injuries.

Prison spokesperson, Hlaziya Mtolo, confirmed that Memela slipped out of the guards’ sight during cleaning period on Friday morning.

“It seems as if he was waiting for her because he was not supposed to be in that corridor in the first place.

“It is not clear whether the prisoner slipped away specifically to attack the social worker or not,” said Mtolo.

Memela is serving 24 years for various crimes including murder, statutory rape and robbery.

Mtolo said he was being kept in isolation while the police investigated the circumstances surrounding the attack.

He said prison officials will also investigate how the prisoner got hold of the bottle.

Asked for comment, Ndlovu said she did not want to talk about her ordeal.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said Memela appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday on a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The case was remanded until April 28.

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