Prison raids seize contraband

2019-01-16 06:01

PRISON warders who collude with criminals could find themselves trading their brown uniform for inmates’ orange outfits.

Correctional Services’ provincial commissioner, Mnikelwa Nxele, said some of the contraband found during the raids at prisons was smuggled in by, or with the assistance of, employees of the department.

Nxele added that such conduct would not be tolerated, saying that it was wrong for a “few rotten potatoes”, who were trusted to ensure the well-being of inmates, to instead help perpetrate crime.

The contraband, including cellphones and drugs, was seized during prison raids around KwaZulu-Natal, including at New Prison in Pietermaritzburg.

“We want to rely on these continuous searches to make sure we remove the drugs, but also to ensure that those drugs don’t get inside in the first place.

“To ensure that our members are conscientised of their commitment to serve their people to ensure that those kind of things, like smuggling drugs, are not associated with them,” Nxele said.

Some of the unauthorised items found during the raids, such as drugs, were referred to the police for criminal investigation.

Nxele said warders who were found guilty of colluding with criminals must not only be fired but also face the full wrath of the law.

He added that being an inmate was not easy, even though they had food, shelter, a bed and medical care, so it was doing them an injustice to exploit their difficult situation by introducing them to a life of drugs.

“Most of the people who are in correctional services come from broken families and poor families. And yet someone finds a market so that they [inmates] are further burdened with drugs.

“Many of those inmates who are using drugs are going to have their lives destroyed because they are going to be locked in a life of crime, so even when they come out they are going to commit crime and come back here,” said Nxele.

He added that there should be accountability with regards to those who smuggling cellphones, saying:

“Those who are identified should be dealt with harshly.”

Nxele said there was money exchanged for every mobile phone brought inside the prison.

• nokuthula.ntuli@witness.co.za

MORE than three dozen rolls of toilet paper, six packets of Regal chocolates and other sweets, chips, biscuits, canned pilchards, hot chocolate, as well as jars of mayonnaise and tomato sauce.

These were some of the items found in the possession of one inmate at New Prison and unlike most of his peers, he didn’t deny they were his.

“I basically live here so I need all of these things,” he told the Correctional Services Emergency Support Team during Sunday’s raid.

The man, also had toothpicks, several pairs of shoes, new dishcloths and an unopened pack of 12 spoons.

Asked what he did with all the sweets and junk food, he simply said: “I eat them, they are nice.”

The man denied that he was running a mini-spaza shop, saying he didn’t need to sell anything because he didn’t need the money.

He seemed to have an answer for everything until traditional medicine, wrapped in a newspaper, was found at the bottom of his food stash. At first he said it was for diabetes but when the officers pointed at his sweets and chocolates collection, he then changed his tune and said it was for a skin condition.

Not far from his bed was another inmate who owned six belts. He said five of them were now too small for him as he had been gaining weight since he arrived at New Prison. “You have to give away some of them or throw them out, you can’t keep collecting belts,” warned one of the police officers.

Beautiful sculptures of wood and soap were also found in some of the cells. The owners kept watch on them as the raid proceeded and protested when one of the officers threatened to throw them in the bin. — The Witness

PRISON warders who collude with criminals could find themselves trading their brown uniform for inmates’ orange outfits.

Correctional Services’ provincial commissioner, Mnikelwa Nxele, said some of the contraband found during the raids at prisons was smuggled in by, or with the assistance of, employees of the department.

Nxele added that such conduct would not be tolerated, saying that it was wrong for a “few rotten potatoes”, who were trusted to ensure the well-being of inmates, to instead help perpetrate crime.

The contraband, including cellphones and drugs, was seized during prison raids around KwaZulu-Natal, including at New Prison in Pietermaritzburg.

“We want to rely on these continuous searches to make sure we remove the drugs, but also to ensure that those drugs don’t get inside in the first place.

“To ensure that our members are conscientised of their commitment to serve their people to ensure that those kind of things, like smuggling drugs, are not associated with them,” Nxele said.

Some of the unauthorised items found during the raids, such as drugs, were referred to the police for criminal investigation.

Nxele said warders who were found guilty of colluding with criminals must not only be fired but also face the full wrath of the law.

He added that being an inmate was not easy, even though they had food, shelter, a bed and medical care, so it was doing them an injustice to exploit their difficult situation by introducing them to a life of drugs.

“Most of the people who are in correctional services come from broken families and poor families. And yet someone finds a market so that they [inmates] are further burdened with drugs.

“Many of those inmates who are using drugs are going to have their lives destroyed because they are going to be locked in a life of crime, so even when they come out they are going to commit crime and come back here,” said Nxele.

He added that there should be accountability with regards to those who are smuggling cellphones, saying:

“Those who are identified should be dealt with harshly.”

Nxele said there was money exchanged for every mobile phone brought inside the prison.

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