Correctional services minister demands answers after prison hostage situation

2019-03-30 15:48
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha (Jenni Evans, News24)

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Justice and Correctional Services minister Advocate Michael Masutha has said he wants answers on how an inmate managed to lock himself in parts of the Goedemoed prison in the Free State, killing one female warder and injuring another.

The minister instructed the National Commissioner of Correctional Services Arthur Fraser to immediately go to the site and establish the facts surrounding the "unfortunate incident", and ensure that there is continuity of trauma counselling and other relevant employee assistance to staffers.

A prisoner on Friday allegedly stabbed a female warder to death and is believed to have raped the surviving victim, also a warden at the facility.

The alleged perpetrator has since been placed in solitary confinement after his arrest on Friday night in a hostage situation, which involved negotiations from the SAPS negotiations unit to bring to an end the reported 3 hour-long ordeal.

READ: Prisoner kills warder, self

Masutha has also conveyed his condolences to the family and colleagues of the correctional official who was fatally stabbed.

Masutha said that the safety of staff is of paramount importance and the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services views any attack on the officials in a very serious light.

"We expect a full assessment of the protocols regulating the interaction of officials and inmates at the Goedemoed Correctional Centre. We cannot afford to have a similar incident recurring at any point," he said.

"We have to find the glitch in our systems that has placed our two officials in harm's way.

READ MORE: Prisoner in solitary confinement after female guard killed, another allegedly raped in hostage situation

Masutha has instructed his training colleges to increase their intake of learnerships from once to twice a year, saying it will assist in "beefing the number of boots on the ground and alleviate staff shortages".

He however dismissed claims that the incident may have occurred as a result of overcrowding, saying the prison was at 97% of its capacity.

Cope Premier candidate Dennis Bloem said the killing could be blamed on the severe staff shortage.

"Shortage of staff is the biggest problem facing the DCS and forever puts the lives of the DCS officials in danger. The Minister of Correctional Services and Justice, Micheal Masutha and his Department are ignoring this problem and turning a blind eye to it."

Bloem said the DCS did not care about the lives of its officials.

"They are more interested in corruption, giving Bosasa illegal contracts and refusing to recruit more staff. This is totally unacceptable and we condemned it with contempt it deserves."

He called on Masutha to take full responsibility for the death, saying he ignored the plight of his officials who on many occasions raised the shortage of staff matter.

Read more on:    south africa  |  crime
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