South Africa – Justice and Correctional Services officials were on Monday scratching their heads about the identity of the person who captured on cellphone Sunday’s brawl between inmates and warders at Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre in Pretoria.
Initial reports stated the footage was taken by an inmate, but departmental spokesperson Logan Maistry refused to speculate, saying this would form part of the investigation.
“Inmates are prohibited from having cellphones. If it is an offender who took the footage, his or her privileges will be taken away and they can be summoned to appear in court. If it is an official, the culprit could face a disciplinary process or be dismissed,” he said.
The footage taken at Kgosi Mampuru – declared the country’s best correctional facility just last week by Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional service – has been doing the rounds online since the weekend.
It captured the events of Sunday during which inmates attacked warders using makeshift weapons, citing parole delays.
According to officials, the offenders were refusing to go into their cells, unhappy with how the facility was dealing with issues around parole. Other issues included poor food and overcrowding.
The warders had to use dogs electric shields and pepper spray to contain the situation. Correctional Services specialised units were called in to help quash the riot.
Maistry said: “We will continue to remain vigilant and keep up our guard. Our officials are well trained to deal with such incidents by using the required amount of force.”
He added there was no need for panic, as suggestions were that other prisons in Gauteng would also cause riots. “As far as we know this only occurred at Kgosi Mampuru,” he said. Maistry said several measures had already been implemented. “We are dealing with the (parole) backlog and it is receiving priority attention,” he said.