The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, said that almost 21,000 cellphones were confiscated from inmates in prisons over a period of six months.
THE MINISTER of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, has warned against officials who are helping inmates to smuggle cellphones and other contraband into correctional centres after almost 21,000 cellphones were confiscated between April and October this year.
Lamola said four officials were hauled over the coals for being involved in smuggling cellphones to prisoners.
Out of the four prison officials, one was fired in KwaZulu-Natal, one in Gauteng resigned before they started with the disciplinary hearing and two in the Western Cape are facing disciplinary action.
Lamola said during operations by officials in prisons they recovered 20,933 cellphones in their centres.
In Gauteng they recovered 5,381 cellphones, in KwaZulu-Natal prison authorities confiscated 4,433 cellphones from inmates and in the Eastern Cape they confiscated 3,288 cellphones.
In the Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West region they confiscated 3,139 mobile phones from prisoners, in the Western Cape they managed to recover 2,780 cellphones and in the Free State and Northern Cape region prison officials were able to recover 1,972 cellphones.
Lamola said they continue to conduct searches in their centres to prevent the smuggling of cellphones.
“Disciplinary measures and swift consequence management are applied to all officials, visitors, service providers and inmates involved in any form of smuggling of contraband including, among others, cellular devices,” said Lamola, who was replying to a written parliamentary question from ANC MP Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen.
Lamola said they have also increased patrols in their centres in a bid to stop the smuggling of cellphones.