SA has most inmates in Africa

2013-03-04 08:47

Polokwane - South Africa has the biggest prison population in Africa and the ninth biggest in the world, according to the World Prison Brief.

Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said over the weekend that 30% of these inmates are awaiting trial, Beeld reported.

Every month, about 23 000 inmates are released, but another 25 000 enter the system.

Ndbele added that a total of 64 959 offenders are not currently incarcerated, with 48 323 being out on parole, 14 917 being provisionally released and 1 719 awaiting trial.

James Smalberger of the department of correctional services said these statistics didn’t take into account criminals who were serving other kinds of sentences or had been released on bail.

"There is still a large number of people who are not locked up. Some are doing community service for punishment while others are on bail or parole,” he said.

Most prisoners were young black men and 53 000 were youths, Ndebele said.

“There are many 17-year-olds found guilty of serious crimes. They have left school, are illiterate and homeless.”  

The minister added that it costs R8 000 a month to keep a prisoner in jail.

Ndbele said there had been an increase in the number of women jailed for murder of their husbands or boyfriends and many of these were in jail with their daughters, who in many instances were accomplices in the crimes. The children were often victims of violence by their fathers.


  • procold2 - 2013-03-04 08:51

    firstly deport the the immagrants, secondly bring the death penalty back for violent crimminals

      gift.ndlovu.564 - 2013-03-04 09:06

      Pres Zuma must release prisoners who do petty crimes like robbery and hijacking ..This will help empty the prisons by half

      kalabafazi - 2013-03-04 09:12

      I say cut the costs from R8 000 to R2 000 per month. Why should they have three meals a day when there are many starving innocent children out on the streets.

      Kalibanache - 2013-03-04 09:12

      Real story is how many criminals are NOT IN JAIL...Build more Jails, Build Jails solely for police and ministers who fail the system..

      angelanair3 - 2013-03-04 09:13

      Ha ha - and this is a surprise? Are we not known as the "Crime Capital" of the world? Dont worry people - they will release the criminals - they need space for the thousands more that are committing crimes even as we speak! Or they may build more prisons in place of schools, universities and hospitals! After all "Human Rights" for prisoners! Victims suffer..........

      Tony Bakkie - 2013-03-04 09:14

      Thanks NEWS24 removing my comment on @Gift Ndlovu, but you keep his here?

      gift.ndlovu.564 - 2013-03-04 09:33

      @Tony...Shame did they delete your comment.Are you alright.. Can we call someone for you.

      Simson Möller - 2013-03-04 09:38

      Ndlovu, you must be a hijacker yourself justifying it as petty crime! Have you ever been hijacked yourself??

      Kalibanache - 2013-03-04 09:39

      Good idea gift, what a blessing you are for us all, Your brains should be better used, Space travel or something...

      dracolusus - 2013-03-04 09:42

      @Gift, want someone to come help you? From your comment about releasing prisoners, clearly you aren't all that well in the head.

      louis.pienaar1 - 2013-03-04 09:43

      Another Brilliant plan by the very smart and gifted "gift"...seriously does a rock fall on the that small brain of yours every morning?

      Kalibanache - 2013-03-04 09:48

      Gift darling, your brothers should be happy to earn R200 a day, something we pay any dumb ass to help for a days work, Zero education needed, just follow instructions and assist, That is enough to eat darling

      Kalibanache - 2013-03-04 09:50

      And Gift, when your brothers were once working let me guess, Fired for stealing boss's tools?

      Kalibanache - 2013-03-04 10:03

      Gift Ndlovu: Scary to think this is how an employed person thinks while working at our states hospital. Very scary indeed.. Baragwana staff member.. see the amazing brain capacity we employ, Hope she is a cleaner cause as a nurse we are finished and if she is higher than a nurse then best we all leave SA, Black white, green and blue, These hospitals are too dodgy..

      Simson Möller - 2013-03-04 10:04

      Aaaa shame Gift, my heart bleeds for you.... You, your type, might see those as petty crime, and thats why SA is in the diabolical state it's in. Most people see hijacking as violent crime and unacceptable in a civilised society. Your obviously not civilised, so can't really expect of you to understand that basic thing....

      Joe Porchy - 2013-03-04 10:04

      Make them build houses for the masses behind security fences - when finished move the fences to a new location that's what the Chinese do

      Kalibanache - 2013-03-04 10:13

      Gift, dont talk about my tools, Its a sore subject, I can vomit at how much tools I have bought, My grandad could buy 1 hammer in a lifetime, I bought 4 in the last few months. I wish we could swop bodies for a week, You see it from my side :) Lies and thieves I detest most !!!!! For a thief and a lier can also kill....

      Konrad Bosco - 2013-03-04 10:25

      People should be hanged for murder,rape,hijackings and armed robbery. Remove them from the gene pool,they don't deserve to procreate or breath

      Leon Lambourn - 2013-03-04 11:22

      Gift, shoplifting a Polony at Checkers is a petty crime! Armed robbery and high jacking are not petty it is violent, how many people have been shot, killed,brutally assaulted and traumatized during these two VIOLENT crimes?!!

      Charles-Bronson Bronson - 2013-03-04 11:49

      Shows you only one thing of what the ANC supporters are. Criminals!!!

      Omnivore - 2013-03-04 12:06

      @Gift - people like you give us all a bad name.

      ohbizz.chabata - 2013-03-04 12:27

      Obviously it is false that R8 000 is spent monthly on each criminal. They will say so but it could never be true....misappropriated funds

      talana.malherbe - 2013-03-04 13:02

      Holy smokes Gift...seriously?? Cry our beloved country with your logic!

      Sasha D - 2013-03-04 13:31

      @OhbiZz Chabata This figure is actually probably correct when you compare it to other countries. It is in actual fact still a lot cheaper than the cost of keeping one prisoner in jail for a year in other countries. - Britain R400000 per prisoner per year. - New Zealand just under R500000 per prisoner per year. - USA almost R550000 per prisoner per year ($63.4 billion per year total!) They do have 25% of the world's prison population. - Australia a whopping R900000 per prisoner per year!!!

  • Bless Boswell - 2013-03-04 08:56

    Or, just do what Zuma does and let them go. Problem solved.

      Dan - 2013-03-04 09:01

      Bless, of the sixty odd thousand not incarcerated, 50% work for the government !!!!

      john.loveland.9 - 2013-03-04 09:02

      Yep, Imagine what the figures would be if our politicians didn't keep issuing "get out of jail free"cards.

  • Musa Abrahams - 2013-03-04 08:58

    Death sentence is the answer!

      nduna.omkwanilwa - 2013-03-04 09:40

      I do not buy into that figure of R8000 per prisoner per month - think its highly inflated. That would be possible if the whole establishment had very few prisoners. Not all costs increase proportionally to the number of inmates. If that figure is correct, then it says more about the inefficiency of the processes and procedures of the correctional services - they need re-engineering.

      pws69 - 2013-03-04 10:28

      Nduna, when they privatised the prisons, the costs when up 4 fold. Of course, there are the bribes to be paid, so the cost escalation is to be expected. Recently BOSASA had its contract renewed in MIDDLE of a corruption investigation. The ANC cadres know they are untouchable, and can steal with impunity in the secure knowledge the "masses" will still vote for them.

  • Nishal Singh - 2013-03-04 08:58

    Control the population growth and the problem is solved! If you can't feed them, don't breed them!

      dracolusus - 2013-03-04 09:48

      One of my favourite quotes to beggars, especially with signs saying 4 children to feed, etc.

  • Musawashe Moyo - 2013-03-04 08:59

    If the criminal is a foreigner,its better to deport them,it doesn't cost R8000 to deport and the rest let them free.

      Sasha D - 2013-03-04 13:35

      Interesting notion Musawashe

  • criticallyhonest - 2013-03-04 08:59

    Accept that a person who commits a crime is a criminal, one that is either awaiting trial or is in prison is likely to also be a criminal. Daily I am assaulted by multiple reports of crimes being committed, and no doubt there is a whle lot more crime happening that doesn't reach me. Add the criminals not in prison to the ones that are in prison and what percentage of the population is criminal. Why are there so many criminals in SA? Is it fundamental to the population? Is it because the laws are too harsh and therefore make so many people criminals? What TF????

  • Sam Masuku - 2013-03-04 09:00

    The last time i heard it was around R3600... wow these guys are living large while some of their victims are in poverty!!!

  • Brad - 2013-03-04 09:09

    And still....

  • Winifred Watson - 2013-03-04 09:30

    Why are we not surprised, this has become the land of milk and honey for criminals. Its time to make criminals work to feed themselves. Why not take open unused land and make them plant and maintain vegetables etc. We see the chain gang on tv why not here. This could be for criminals who hijack rob and petty theft. When these guys or woman realize that prison is not a 5 star hotel and they have to endure hard labour you will soon see that they are no so quick to return. At the moment this country is a haven for criminals.

  • sisie.indola - 2013-03-04 09:32

    So GP doesn't just mean "Gangster Province" but the whole of SA is the place to go to if you are a criminal in Africa because you will get star treatment in the prisons if you are caught. And if you happen to be connected well that is just a call for luxury, and the chance that you will have to spend more than 3 months in prison is slim because JZ happens to let out prisoners every so often depending on his whims, and it is election year so wow you have it made.

  • Shannon Kate Holcroft - 2013-03-04 09:40

    Solving the problem of large prison populations with the death sentence? Sounds a bit like Hitler and his Final Solution. In any case, death is an easy way out for violent criminals, rather than being left to rot in a cell for the rest of their lives. To decrease the number of people taken up in prisons, the cause of their crimes has to be tackled: domestic violence, poverty, illiteracy and resulting unemployment. Bringing the death penalty back is not going to be a long-term solution to the increasing number of inmates in SA prisons.

  • Brian Dorning - 2013-03-04 09:42

    what ever happened to chaingangs? Prisons also grew their own produce!? This is bull, criminals are on holiday, they must work and repay society. The state must use them as labour, even hire them to me, I'm a farmer, my labour is way too expensive.

      Joe Porchy - 2013-03-04 10:07

      Make them build houses for the masses behind security fences - when finished move the fences to a new location that's what the Chinese do

      Rodney Louis - 2013-03-04 10:30

      canwe please have pre 94 law and order .. im sure lots will support that

  • David Mbongo - 2013-03-04 09:48

    y r they not trained as soldiers?or r they going 2 vote anc?

  • gerry.klos - 2013-03-04 09:48

    Another nail into SA coffin!

  • Tebogo Seanego - 2013-03-04 09:49

    thy come hear and batlatsa our country

  • Tebogo Seanego - 2013-03-04 09:49

    thy come hear and batlatsa our country

  • Tebogo Seanego - 2013-03-04 09:49

    thy come hear and batlatsa our country

      louis.pienaar1 - 2013-03-04 10:15

      wha lango yu takinh?

  • Bra - 2013-03-04 09:54

    "Death sentence is the answer!"... 2hour later, "save Annemarie( drug mule caught in Iran)". Community development is the answer.

  • Anthony Salgado - 2013-03-04 09:55

    Make the prisons here the same as the rest in Africa and I bet that a whole lot less crime will happen , as I work up North and what the people tell me is not good about thier prisons . They are not the hotels we have here with a union as well .

  • Simphiwe Spijo Nxumalo - 2013-03-04 09:56

    gift whatever u are u shuld be ashamed how can u condoned robbery by your brothers and blame the job situation how many South Africans who r jobless but use their brains to make an honesy living nobody said your brothers must be brainless and take the easy way out crime does not pay...well in KZN Watervaal prison prisoners are working in a farm there they produce their own food why can't the government do the same to other prisons...

  • Ivan De Klerk - 2013-03-04 09:59

    @Gift Ndlovu: Hijacking and Robbery ARE HARDLY petty crimes. Clearly no one has hijacked or robbed you.

      Tony Bakkie - 2013-03-04 10:23

      That was my comment I made but Donk24 decided to remove it. I was also less complimentory about the Zimbabwean Ndlovu

  • Jerome Mtshali - 2013-03-04 10:03

    What will discourage them from coming into prisons again... especially now they know R8000 is spent on each of them

      Joe Porchy - 2013-03-04 10:06

      Make them build houses for the masses behind security fences - when finished move the fences to a new location that's what the Chinese do

      Jerome Mtshali - 2013-03-04 10:21

      Joe, You have a point...

  • Simphiwe Spijo Nxumalo - 2013-03-04 10:04

    south africa is not in any so we can not train dangerous criminals to be soldiers coz most of them were also soldiers once...

  • Joe Porchy - 2013-03-04 10:04

    Make them build houses for the masses behind security fences - when finished move the fences to a new location that's what the Chinese do

      JanGrimbeek - 2013-03-04 10:23

      Build one big fence around South Africa.

      Rodney Louis - 2013-03-04 10:33

      we need to treat he cause not the symptom ....Gov way to slow in dealing with the rot !!

  • Ellakita - 2013-03-04 10:11

    Shows you how bad this country became in the last 20years.Tragic

  • JanGrimbeek - 2013-03-04 10:19

    The ANC delivering on their promise of "Free Housing, Free electricity and Free water" Thrown in also.... free Satelite TV viewing, free food, free clothes (overalls, bad colour though) free sanitation, free gyms free sporting facilities etc..... I do not see any problem, they still enjoy the freedom of using that !

  • flynn.govender - 2013-03-04 10:31

    Deport all foreign nationals back to their country to serve their time in their jails. This is the land of milk & honey. People get better treatment in jail, they get to watch tv, eat a 3 course meal and the guards even open the doors for them, lol. Life is better in jail than on the streets

  • Quartus van Zyl - 2013-03-04 10:33

    The huge amount of awaiting trial people is a clear indication that the justice system is failing (mainly because of AA )

      June Francis - 2013-03-04 11:01

      everything is failing because of BEE

  • Desperate.Dan61 - 2013-03-04 11:15

    Give them Pink uniforms and make them work the Potholes for a living instead of watching TV and relaxing. How can it cost R8000 a month???? Give us a breakdown, Oh I forgot Unisa Courses and education costs etc.

      gerhard.combrink1 - 2013-03-04 13:44

      Indeed. Prisons should be privatized, as in the US, and be trading as for profit companies on the JSE. Prisoners should earn their meals.

      Sasha D - 2013-03-04 14:02

      The private prison industry in America is a total F up. It has been demonstrated to unfairly target the incarceration of black people.

  • Kopano Motsumi - 2013-03-04 11:20

    Tjerrrrrrrrr, ke mathata fela.

  • randy.kruger.16 - 2013-03-04 12:07

    Is Oscar counted???

  • randy.kruger.16 - 2013-03-04 12:07

    Is Oscar counted???

  • Daryl Jackson - 2013-03-04 12:11

    (SA has the most inmates in africa) and the most corrupt goverment in the world...............

  • Linds Ron-House - 2013-03-04 12:23

    All prisoners currently serving time for nonviolent crimes, e.g. fraud, corruption, etc., should be released. They must have their assets forfeited to the stae and they must do community service. Hospitals need cleaning, roads need sweeping, pavements need grass cutting, schools need painting, etc. There's plenty of work to be done.

  • Bless Boswell - 2013-03-04 12:33

    If government feels that the pension amount is sufficient to sustain life, why do prisoners qualify for so much more?

  • Sasha D - 2013-03-04 13:05

    What I want to know is how many of these inmates are in there for simple drug possession? These people are not causing harm to anyone else but themselves yet are clogging up our courts (when they could be focusing on violent crimes) and thrown into jail at a cost of over R96000 per year to the taxpayer!!!!! WHY??? Legalise and regulate drugs. Treat drug addiction as a health issue not a criminal justice issue and instead use the police, court and jail resources to catch, convict and punish murderers, rapists, pedophiles and corrupt politicians.

  • galmzala - 2013-03-04 13:10

    please dont forget that this number include all the immigrant illegally and legally, and harsh sentences will ensure people they dont commit crime because they know they can stay for free 4 star hotel or walk free,

      galmzala - 2013-03-04 13:12

      oh one more thing take right away from criminals when you commit crime you have violetted your own rights, no mercy for you except to work like a jail bird and treated like one

  • tsepo.mdlalose - 2013-03-04 14:25

    Yes cause the rest lives outside of prison in africa

  • Tishan - 2013-03-04 16:06

    off the 23000 released, how many of the 25000 are back after a week outside..

  • skiapas - 2013-03-04 16:45 is this news....??

  • Koos Fourie - 2013-05-21 12:52

    Will it not be a good idea to open up inmate information to the public such as at Then we will know who did what crimes, and when. There may be a few surprises though. Oops, the new bill of secracy? Or is the size of the database out of the question?

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