Latest News Press Statement — 11 Aug 2021

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) has learned with shock the reported incident wherein a female correctional officer was found dead last night at the Leeuwkop Correctional Centre.

It is suspected that the officer, whose lifeless body was found where she had been booked to work, at the Covid-19 Isolation ward, might have been strangled and raped. Within the same vicinity, a blood-stained towel was found, indicating that the perpetrator of such a vile crime had ample time to try clean up the evidence. 

It is widely established that the officer reported for duty yesterday morning at 7am, and was only discovered late at night after 9pm when her husband made inquiries into her whereabouts. 

It should be explained as to why she was individually booked at the Covid-19 Isolation ward, where inmates who have tested positive for the pandemic are kept? As per security policies, why did she not get security visits throughout the day? Why was she not relieved during the expected lunch time? And why was there no concern when she had not submitted the ward keys during the expected knock-off time? 

Most concerning is that the Acting Area Commissioner, Mr Molefe has reneged from his leadership duties by failing to give clarity at this time of despair. This can only be seen as a form of negligence from the management in the centre, and can never be justifiable. 

This unfortunate loss of life under mysterious circumstances cannot go without being fully interrogated, and the negligence demonstrated by the DCS management at the centre cannot be left without account, with those responsible taking full responsibility.

POPCRU has for long warned about the adverse impacts of understaffing and overcrowding within correctional centres, and the risks it brings not only to officials, by the entire process of rehabilitation as the core function of our correctional centres.

In terms of the Correctional Services policy, females working in male Correctional Centres must at all times be in the company of a male Correctional Officer. We therefore call for the immediate suspension of the Acting Area Commissioner, the Head of Prison and the Security Manager at the Leeuwkop Correctional Centre. 

Issued by POPCRU on 11/08/2021

For more information contact Richard Mamabolo on 066 135 4349

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