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South Africa: watchdog investigating Goedemoed prison 'abuse'

The JICS is an independent investigative prison oversight body, which falls under the Department of Correctional Services’ ambit.

Earlier this year, the media reported on a hostage situation at the prison in which one warder was killed and a female officer raped.

A News24 source - whose brother is imprisoned at Goedemoed - said that since the incident three months ago, inmates were allegedly being abused by warders, adding that beatings and solitary confinement happened daily.

JICS spokesperson Emerantia Cupido said it was currently investigating these allegations.

“The JICS is aware of the allegations of assaults on inmates by warders. The prison, according to our Independent Correctional Centre Visitors who monitors what happens inside prisons and responds to complaints from inmates, is still in lock down after the homicide and rape of officials earlier this year.

“A regional investigator is currently conducting an inquiry. The JICS will also be sending two senior investigators in the first week of July to finalise and report on the situation.”

At the time of the incident, News24 reported that the hostage-taker was placed in solitary confinement after he had freed the hostages.

The then-minister of justice and correctional services, Michael Masthua, demanded answers as to how the inmate managed to take hostages. He conveyed his condolences to the family and colleagues of the dead warden, saying the safety of the staff was paramount, News24 reported.

“We expect a full assessment of the protocols regulating the interaction of officials and inmates at the Goedemoed Correctional Centre. We cannot afford to have a similar incident recurring at any point,” Masutha said at the time.

“We have to find the glitch in our system that has placed our two officials in harm’s way.”

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