Last year
From left: Provincial prisons commissioner Nkosinathi Breakfast, deputy minister Thabang Makwetla and national commissioner Zach Modise at St Albans Prison outside Port Elizabeth. Photo by Luvuyo Mehlwana  ~ 

ST ALBANS Prison officials who have been accused of carelessness will be moved around.

This is according to deputy correctional services minister Thabang Makwetla, who visited the jail on Friday.

Makwetla shared the recommendations of an internal probe into last year’s clash between inmates and warders.

The chaos in December left three inmates dead and 26 people injured. The department launched an investigation.

Makwetla, national commissioner Zach Modise and provincial commissioner Nkosinathi Breakfast were at the prison to address tensions and ongoing issues of gangsterism.

Makwetla said: “The investigation has recommended that officials with key responsibility where this incident occurred under their supervision must be moved around.

“Inmates behind the attack have also been transferred to North End Prison, pending further investigation.

“The lesson learnt was the apparent slackness of prison officials to search inmates when moving them around.”

Makwetla said recommendations were that high-risk offenders should not be kept in two separate dedicated cells, as at the time of the fight.

“Management thought it was controlling the situation but actually made it worse.

“The issue of staff shortages is very critical. The department faces dangerous shortages of personnel for purposes of safe custody.”

He said the prison needed 221 officials. It has 129 warders.

The recommendation also states that St Albans must be singled out for special attention.

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