Prison bust success needs to be replicated in WC
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
I welcome the actions taken by the National Department of Correctional Services in KwaZulu-Natal in raiding Durban’s Westville Prison which, according to reports, successfully confiscated among others, almost 70 phones, more than 200 SIM cards, and more than 900 single portions of dagga.
The George “Geweld” Thomas trial in the Western Cape unearthed that his time spent in jail during awaiting trial saw more than 33 000 phone calls made from cell phone numbers associated with him, from within the various prisons in which he was incarcerated. It is simply unacceptable that a man removed from our society still has access to control criminal elements in what should be a safer society without his presence.
With one prisoner being able to make up to 46 phone calls a day, as was proven in the “Geweld” case, the National Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masutha, needs to roll out the prison busts and affect a clampdown on the implementation of security measures in Western Cape prisons as well.
Our communities need to feel safe and assured that when criminals are put in jail, they have no hold over the community anymore. Eliminating contact to the outside through prohibited devices and ensuring that those watching over criminals are not becoming criminals themselves, are certainly steps in the right direction.
I have today written to Minister Masutha, requesting him to not only roll out the large scale prison busts in our Province but also for him to investigate the possibility of using technological advances to help prevent the use of unauthorised devices, for instance the use of signal jammers to prevent cell phone calls within the prison boundary.
The smuggling, trade and use of illegal substances within prisons are also cause for concern and prison warders should know that if they dirty their hands in illegal activity they will find themselves on the other side of the bars.
The raids in KwaZulu-Natal show the Department’s willingness to act against unauthorised activity inside our prisons, and must be supported as the findings, together with the “Geweld” case prove that there are serious problems in prisons across the country that require immediate and urgent attention.
We can no longer turn a blind eye to this. I call for decisive and speedy action from the National Minister in addressing the problems plaguing our prisons in the Western Cape.
Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 079 694 1113