The Department of Correctional Services could soon start relaxing some Covid-19 restrictions at the Helderstroom Maximum Correctional Centre in Caledon. Pictures: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)
The Department of Correctional Services could soon start relaxing some Covid-19 restrictions at the Helderstroom Maximum Correctional Centre in Caledon. Pictures: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)

Caledon prison may have restrictions eased amid Covid-19 recovery reports

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Jan 15, 2021

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Cape Town – The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) could soon start relaxing some restrictions to stop the Covid-19 spread at the Helderstroom Maximum Correctional Centre in Caledon as no new cases were reported for the past five days.

A strict lockdown, with conditions including limited to almost no movement, had to be put in place on Saturday to contain the spread.

This after infections among inmates rose from 87 to 152, while the number of officials who contracted the virus increased from five to eight.

DCS spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said although it was the Maximum Centre that was the main concern, they also placed strict protocols at the Medium Centre following fears the spread would be uncontrollable.

“The centre is still currently on lockdown and we will be gradually relaxing some of the restrictions. There were no more new cases and we have recoveries to date standing at 66 inmates. Inmates cannot move to other sections inside the prison. Outsiders cannot go inside the centre, unless under pressing circumstances or emergency,” said Nxumalo.

The inmates who had tested positive and not recovered were still quarantined.

As of Wednesday, about 9 892 positive cases were recorded countrywide, consisting of 6 394 officials and 3 498 inmates.

Recoveries stood at 86%, following 1 128 active cases, comprising 387 inmates and 741 officials.

The department lost 133 officials and 59 inmates due to Covid-19-related illnesses.

DCS’s tracking of the virus recorded that as of Wednesday, there had been an additional 112 cases countrywide.

Of the 70 additional cases of officials, the Western Cape recorded 19, and of the 42 additional cases of inmates, the province recorded 11 infections.

The Public Servants Association (PSA) honoured Christo Olivier, who was their department of Correctional Services office-bearer. Olivier died last week after battling with Covid-19 related illness

“He fought a brave battle against the virus for just over two weeks, before he passed away. Christo was a PSA pioneer in DCS and played a key role in the establishment of a PSA shop steward committee at Pollsmoor Prison in 1993, when the DCS opened the doors for its officials to join trade unions.

“He successfully assisted many members with disciplinary hearings and arbitrations across all departments, and was respected not only by his peers, but also DCS management and arbitrators from all sectoral councils and the CCMA,” said the association.

Olivier was remembered as a gentle giant, a respected colleague, and a close friend to many, it said.

Cape Times

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