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Pretoria - The correctional services department on Wednesday appealed to the public not to smuggle drugs or weapons to prisoners.
The plea follows a search operation undertaken at Kgosi Mampuru Central Correctional Centre in Pretoria where illegal items, such as cellphones, dagga, nyaope, sharpened objects, money, SIM cards, and cellphone chargers were found in various cells.
“Other recent searching operations at visiting areas where members of the public report at have yielded the above-mentioned assortment of articles that are brought by the public,” spokesman Ofentse Morwane said in a statement.
“Of serious concern is the fact that cellphones are used to call, threaten, and intimidate witnesses and victims of crime.”
He said the phones were also used to plan and plot escapes, as well as to organise criminal activity from within correctional centres.
“The bringing in and purposeful smuggling of contrabands, which at times also occurs as a result of collusion with officials of the department... defeats the purpose of a correctional system as legislated,” he said.
In recent months, the same prison saw two attacks on convicted killer Clive Derby-Lewis. In March he was stabbed by an inmate with a piece of broken glass.
In February, Derby-Lewis was attacked with a spoon by another prisoner and suffered lacerations on the head and hand.
Morwane said the smuggling of such weapons impacted negatively on the department's mandate of safe custody and humane detention of those entrusted in their care.
“Knives, guns and sharpened objects are not used by prison gangs to further their conflict with each other, but are also used to effect planned escapes, hostage-taking, killing other offenders, and attacking correctional officials,” he said. - Sapa