WATCH | Pollsmoor prison raids: Cellphones, sharp objects and drugs confiscated

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  • Tactical teams found cellphones, drugs and several pairs of scissors during searches at Pollsmoor. 
  • The correctional services department wants to make prisons safer - for both inmates and officials.
  • Acting national commissioner Makgothi Thobakgale is confident his department is ready for the festive season. 

Inmates at the various Pollsmoor prisons received a rude awakening on Friday morning when prison officials conducted several raids at dawn.

Offenders lay on their stomachs as emergency support teams searched for contraband. They confiscated cellphones, drugs and several pairs of scissors during the raids.

Pollsmoor Prison
Offenders lineup outside their cell during search operations.
News24 Bertram Malgas

The spate of searches forms part of the Department of Correctional Services' National Festive Season Security Operations Plan, focused on creating contraband-free facilities.

The acting national commissioner, Makgothi Thobakgale, told News24 the searches ensured a safer facility. 

"It helps us keep the members and offenders in the units and the cells safe," he said. 

Pollsmoor Prison
A correctional official finds crystal meth in the pocket of an offender.
News24

Thobakgale explained that frequent inspections helped correctional services to maintain the quality of the conditions in the cells. 

This year, the department beefed up its end-of year-plan to include parolees. 

"Those who abscond and deviate from their parole conditions will be spared no mercy," Thobakgale said.

While on patrol on Thursday night, one parolee was arrested for not adhering to requirements, while authorities were still tracking down a second parolee.

Pollsmoor Prison
A 28 gang member lies on the ground while EST members search the cell.
News24 Bertram Malgas

As the end of the year nears and the festive season approaches, the crime rate is expected to increase.

Thobakgale, however, said he was confident that his department was prepared.

"We are always ready," he said.

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