Cape Town - Numbers gangs in Pollsmoor Prison have caused havoc this week as members from the 26s and 28s battle.
On Monday night, inmates being held in the Medium B section of the jail set alight mattresses to prevent Correctional Services officials and police from raiding a cell.
The convicts attacked officials with boiling water and sticks and also threw liquid on the floor to keep them out.
Pollsmoor communications manager Lewies Davids says the raid comes after information was received about knives being kept in the cell.
“On Monday night, Correctional Services in Western Cape activated a regional reaction team to perform a special search at Pollsmoor Medium B upon receiving information that knives and contraband were hidden in cell 287,” he explains.
“Offenders barricaded the doors and resisted to be searched. Offenders immediately started to break cell windows and cell infrastructure and burn mattresses. The reaction team finally managed to break through and defuse the situation. Offenders inside the cell waylaid and assaulted officials from inside the cell, throwing projectiles at them and hitting them through the grills with sticks. Boiling water was thrown through the windows towards officials and the floor purposely made slippery and inaccessible for members to perform their duties,” Davids says.
At 1.30am on Tuesday, 58 prisoners were retrieved from the cell.
“Thirteen self-made knives and eight cellphones were found in the cell. All 58 offenders from cell 287 were removed and transferred to Pollsmoor [Remand Detention Facility]. Thirteen of the 58 offenders sustained injuries and were taken to Victoria and Somerset West hospitals and returned to Pollsmoor the same day. The reaction team used minimum force to defuse the situation. Our maintenance section is making an assessment to ascertain the amount of damage caused in this incident,” he says.
Fighting between and among the gangs flared up on Monday, 13 August, when one offender was stabbed. On 17 August, a 28s member stabbed another 28, and both landed in hospital. On 18 August, a group of 26s ambushed eight 28s gang members, stabbing and assaulting them. On 19 August, a 26 gang leader was assaulted, stabbed and robbed by his own gang.
“All these incidents over the past week raised an alarm and has led to the intervention by the regional commissioner to conduct a joints search operation at Pollsmoor Medium B. Commissioner Delekile Klaas has ordered an investigation into this matter. Pollsmoor Medium B remains on lockdown and only court movements are being attended to,” explains Davids.