Minister Fritz calls for innovative use of technology to prevent prison crime | Western Cape Government


Minister Fritz calls for innovative use of technology to prevent prison crime

29 October 2019

The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, condemns in the strongest terms an attempt of drug smuggling at Voorberg Prison in Porterville, Stellenbosch, on Saturday. Minister Fritz is urgently calling on the Minister of Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, to identify and implement new technologies to prevent crime within prison walls.

It was reported that two suspects cut the electrical wires surrounding Medium B prison at the sports field side of the prison. A warder noticed the suspects attempting to enter the lookout post he was manning. The warder then removed one of the suspects backpacks which reportedly had 350 mandrax tablets, a rope and side cutter.

Minister Fritz said, “Prisons should not be synonymous with being ‘Crime Headquarters’. The purpose of prison is both punishment and rehabilitation. It is common cause that prisons are universities of criminality rather than places of rehabilitation. In South Africa, we have a reported recidivism rate of 90%. Saturday’s smuggling case clearly shows that our prisons are not rehabilitating criminals from their poor behaviour, but may in fact be reinforcing and contributing to them committing more heinous crimes. I call on the Minister of Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, to urgently investigate and implement new technologies which can assist in preventing crime taking place within our prison’s walls.”

Solutions to prevent crime in prisons should be focused on limiting cellphone use as cellphones significantly contribute towards organised crime within prison walls. Solutions may include:

  • Signal tracking technology: Tracking of cellphone signals provides real-time and precise alerts on where and when cellphones are used;
  • K9 units trained to detect cellphones;
  • Ferromagnetic cell phone detectors: this technology detects the presence of the ferrous metal components including antenna, vibrators and speakers in phones.

Minister Fritz said, “I call on anyone with information on Saturday’s attempted drug smuggling to report such to Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or SMS crime line on 32211. Information can be given anonymously. Additionally, the newly launched MySaps App can be used to make such reports.”

Under the leadership of Minister Fritz, the Department of Community Safety will continue to use every tool at its disposal to safeguard the Western Cape.

Attention broadcasters, please find English audio clip attached.

Media Enquiries: 

Cayla Ann Tomás Murray
Spokesperson for Minister Albert Fritz
Tel: 021 483 8550
Cell: 064 121 7959
Email:   ­