The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) strongly condemns yet other preventable stabbings of correctional officials that took place over the past weekend.

We have learned with discontent the continuous failure of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) to take sufficient measures in protecting its employees; a majority of whom are our members.

Three correctional officials were attacked and stabbed by inmates at the Goedmoed and Kroonstad Correctional Centres, and are all currently hospitalised with serious stab wounds.

At the time of the attack at the Goedmoed Correctional Centre, only 3 correctional officials were on duty, guarding 300 inmates.

The Correctional services management has effectively rendered the lives of correctional officials worthless by their failure to comply to their safety policies, and this incident has adversely affected the morale of many other correctional officials who continue to be single-handedly forced to work under dangerous conditions.

The challenges of overcrowding and understaffing within our correctional centres stem from the indifferent attitude that has been demonstrated by the DCS management, and this due to the fact that they have over the years abandoned their core mandate to create conducive rehabilitating conditions at the expense of individual self-serving interests that prioritise briberies over service delivery.

Overcrowding, understaffing and the illegal shift patterns that are imposed on correctional officials endanger their lives on a daily basis, and we have had enough with the status quo.

The recent revelations into the misuse of DCS funds bring about an opportunity to really interrogate its functionality, and that is something we should closely monitoring while defining a better future free of corrupt leaders.

No longer can olden norm be acceptable where agreements such as the fulfilling of the Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) of 2009, the lack of supply of uniforms since 2009 and the illegal shift patterns that lead to attacks be acceptable while a huge chunk of the budget that is supposed to address these challenges is primarily utilised for tenders on services that could be done internally, something which would make our correctional centres self-sustainable again.

We call on the government to take urgent action in restoring the lost integrity of the DCS for improved service delivery.

Issued by POPCRU on 29/01/2019


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