Winning Lotto ticket, TVs, cellphones confiscated during surprise prison search

Prison officials have confiscated weapons, drugs, cellphones, TV'a and alcohol from prisoners at Losper correctional services. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)
Prison officials have confiscated weapons, drugs, cellphones, TV'a and alcohol from prisoners at Losper correctional services. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

Johannesburg - A winning Lotto ticket, television sets, 13kg of dagga and 125 litres of home-made alcohol were amongst some of the illegal items uncovered during a random search at the Losperfontein Correctional Centre on Tuesday.

Contraband amounting to at least R40 000 was found at the prison during correctional service's Operation Vala. The winnings from the Lotto ticket amounted to R7 000.

Other items confiscated included a kettle, 27 cellphones and cash amounting to R617.

Correctional services acting deputy regional commissioner Kenneth Mthombeni took journalists on a tour of the prison during the unannounced search.

Mthombeni told News24 that the search was part of an annual operation by the department conducted at 253 of its correctional centres. He said the operation was aimed at reducing escape attempts by prisoners.

Mthombeni said although the prison was approved to accommodate 810 offenders, it had 1 032 inmates, placing overcrowding at 32%.

When asked how electronics such as television sets were smuggled into the prison cells without detection, Mthombeni said the department's biggest "downfall" was its own officials.

"Some of our officials are not doing what they are supposed to do."

He warned prison officials against smuggling illegal items for prisoners, saying that correctional services would be quick to arrest anyone found to be doing so.

Confiscated devices such as cellphones will be sent to central intelligence for further investigation, he said. 

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