Our Prisoners are Coping Well-Minister

Fears over few isolation cells should the pandemic hit Prisons

The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Kagiso Mmusi has said that the prisoners are coping well to the changes that have been imposed by the COVID 19 pandemic saying they will be distributing protective wear to Prisons to close the gaps.

“We have identified some protective wear against the pandemic and processes are underway to put these to use in prisons to guard against the risks of infections, he said. Mmusi said the Prisoners are coping to the changes and responding well, you will understand that like many others, they have been kept away from their loved ones,” he said.

The Prisons area is one of the most vulnerable and sensitive areas which may present serious challenges to the government should they contact the virus. Already fifteen police officers have tested positive for Covid-19 in South Africa

It is understood that in terms of containing the spread of Covid-19 in holding cells, all those detained will be screened upon being arrested and the holding facilities are being sanitised thoroughly to make sure they don’t pose the risk of infecting others.

In South Africa, the people testing positive within the prison system are increasing at an alarming rate in the Eastern Cape with 77 cases reported at correctional facilities, including East London’s Westbank prison, a prison for women; and one official from St Albans prison in Port Elizabeth. According to the department of correctional services (DCS), the official from St Albans prison is in self-isolation at home. In the Eastern Cape, 23 prison officials and 53 inmates have been confirmed to have tested positive for Covid-19.

Botswana COVID 19 positive cases currently stand at 20 cases and fears are that they may grow following the arrival of the coming results. Ex-convicts body, Mothei Sejakgomo recently called the government to screen inmates because Botswana may be hit by lack of isolation cells for infected prisoners.