The DA is deeply concerned by reports that one inmate has been killed and another critically injured at the St Albans Prison in Port Elizabeth.
The DA will request that the Department conduct a full and thorough investigation into the events that led to this death and injury.
It is not the first time that violent events have occurred at this prison and we cannot allow such incidents to go unaccounted for.
The DA will further be writing to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services to request the Minister to appear before the Committee as soon as possible at the start of 2017 to account to Parliament for the events.
James Selfe MP
DA Shadow Minister on Correctional Service
UPDATE: This letter is in response to the killing of THREE people and injuring of 26 in a clash between prisoners and warders at the St Albans Prison, Port Elizabeth on 26 December 2016.
Health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo confirmed that emergency service personnel had been dispatched to the prison following a brawl between inmates and guards.
Kupelo confirmed that one inmate is believed to have died from his injuries at the hospital facility on site and two inmates died from their injuries after being transferred to the Livingstone hospital.
Kupelo said several warders were among those transported to hospitals and that 26 people had been injured in the brawl, 10 of whom were in a critical condition. Kupelo said that circumstances surrounding the incident remained unclear.
Eastern Cape Correctional Services Provincial Commissioner, Nkosinathi Breakfast, confirmed an incident at St Albans but said the full details were not yet available and that the department would only be issuing a statement on the matter today.
Since the incident the prison has been under lockdown, with no visitors being allowed. Many family members of inmates at the prison, who were hoping to visit their loved ones on Boxing Day, were turned away at the gate.
The incident is believed to have broken out in the C Max section during the breakfast session. There were initial reports that claimed that a prisoner stabbed a warder, sparking a free for all. Prisoners, believed to have been armed with shanks – homemade stabbing implements – attacked the warders, who retaliated.
Sources said it was a well-known fact that inmates pick up rank among the prison gangs if they drew blood from their guards.
Some family members of warders took to Facebook to complain that they had been kept in the dark by the department following the incident. Rules prevented warders from carrying cellphones while on duty, compounding the situation.
“My sister is working there and she’s on duty as we speak. All we are doing is [praying because] we can’t even contact her [because] cellphones are not allowed,” wrote Mapat Mzwali.
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