These contraband items were found during a raid at Sun City prison.
 Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)
A raid at the Johannesburg Correctional Services Centre not only uncovered deadly weapons, cellphones and dagga, but also laid bare challenges inmates face daily.

On Thursday, Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Thabang Makwetla led the department’s emergency support team on a blitz at the prison, also known as Sun City.

The search operation comes a day after inmates at Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre in Pretoria protested against being locked up for 23 hours. Head of Sun City’s Medium B section Samuel Mahlangu told Makwetla most of the illegal items found in the cells were being smuggled in at night because it was “quiet”.

“These are weapons. This chain with a lock can be used as a weapon as well. All these things were smuggled, either by the public or by our officials,” said Mahlangu.

Among other things found in the cells, in the section which houses inmates serving long sentences were cutlery, cellphone chargers, cables, a frying pan, a kettle, memory sticks, a DVD player and pirated DVDs and CDs.

The search team also found an official’s pair of work shoes.

Addressing inmates, Makwetla said Operation Vala was a “festive campaign aimed at minimising assaults, possible escapes and any other activity which may compromise security in our centres”.