- The Department of Correctional Services will now permit prison visits.
- The visits will take place under strict conditions and protocols.
- Inmates will be limited to two visitors per month.
Following the move to Level 1 of the lockdown, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has resolved to permit visits at prisons again, under strict conditions.
In a statement on Tuesday, the department said that, while visitors would be allowed, they would have to observe Covid-19 health protocols, as well as DCS Standard Operating Procedures.
"We rely on members of the public to be honest during screening in order to prevent any potential infections and cross-contamination," department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said.
"Those who have been in contact with Covid-19 positive cases must indicate as that will allow our health care practitioners to conduct extensive screening, which includes assessing vital signs. It is important to note that provision of false information is a criminal offence.
"Those planning a visit should always confirm their visit with the relevant correctional centre before travelling. If at any given time, there are new or suspected cases of Covid-19 in a facility or unforeseen circumstances at the premises, this could affect visitations."
The following protocols have been established for people wanting to visit prisoners at correctional centres and remand detention facilities:
- Visits are limited to two visitors per inmate per month.
- Only one visitor per inmate will be allowed at a time.
- The non-contact visit classified inmates will be entitled to receive one visitor in a calendar month.
- Bookings must be pre-arranged at least 48-hours prior to the intended visit to ensure proper planning.
- No visits will be allowed without a prior appointment.
- Only visitors with face masks as per the approved name-list will be allowed access.
- Visitors must arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the commencement of the scheduled visit time.
- Inmates will be allowed to receive items as per their privilege group and as prescribed in the policy.
- Visits will be permitted to take place between 09:00 and 15:00 on visit days.
Nxumalo added that in centres which house both sentenced and remand category prisoners, remand detainees may receive visitors on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, excluding Public Holidays.
While sentenced offenders will be allowed visits on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Weekends and Public Holidays.
For legal representatives, consultation visits between with inmates will be non-contact and must observe Covid-19 health protocols and operating procedures as determined by DCS.
Legal practitioners will be expected to make prior arrangements with the head of correctional facility and must be in possession of an identity document.
On urgent matters, legal representatives and inmates may communicate telephonically after approval from the head of centre has been obtained, in line with the resource capacity of a specific centre.