Detainees face action after blocking cell, arming themselves with makeshift weapons

The Department of Correctional Services is acting on inmates at an Eastern Cape prison.
The Department of Correctional Services is acting on inmates at an Eastern Cape prison.
Mdu Ndzingi/ Drum Magazine/Gallo Images/Getty Ima
  • Awaiting trial prisoners from the Butterworth Correctional Centre blockaded their cell with beds and armed themselves with makeshift weapons.
  • It is understood they demanded to be taken to court, despite the fact that trials are not in operation because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 
  • The group will be facing disciplinary action and the weapons have been removed from the cell.

Disciplinary action is being taken against 34 awaiting trial prisoners from the Butterworth Correctional Centre in the Eastern Cape after they blockaded their cell, armed themselves with makeshift weapons and demanded to be taken to court.

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) confirmed the incident, which was captured on video and leaked on social media.

In the video, which News24 has seen, a number of men dressed in yellow wield makeshift weapons, some of which have been sharpened.  

The detainees can be heard talking about eating dirty and expired food, complaining about being mistreated by guards and not being taken to court.

The group can also be heard chanting and singing.

DCS spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo confirmed the incident took place on Sunday.

"The 34 remand detainees closed the cell door with beds and demanded that they be taken to court, even though the court was closed due to confirmed Covid-19 cases," Nxumalo said.


"This can only be described as an act of hooliganism and thuggery, with utter disregard for authority. It becomes very disturbing when those remanded in custody display no respect for law, as such acts can only perpetuate an intent to disobey laws of the country.

"Such infernal behaviour by remandees has no place in Correctional Services and shall be dealt with harshly whenever it tries to rear its ugly head."

READ | Cape Town ranked 8th most violent city in the world

Nxumalo said that action was taken, and order was restored at the prison on the same day.

A search was also conducted, and the makeshift weapons were removed.

"The ringleaders were identified and relocated as disciplinary action is being meted against all participants," Nxumalo said.

"It has to be re-emphasised that such criminal behaviour cannot be tolerated by the Department of Correctional Services, hence all 34 remand detainees will be spared no mercy."

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