Cope condemns killing of female DCS official, blames Michael Masutha

Cope condemns killing of female DCS official, blames Michael Masutha

Former minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha. Picture: Linda Mthombeni

The party alleges that Masutha ignored the plight of officials who in many occasions raised the problem of staff shortages in the department.

The Congress of the People (Cope) has issued a strong statement regarding the alleged killing of one female prison officer and the alleged rape of another officer.

This after an apparent hostage situation at Goedemoed Prison in Aliwal North, Eastern Cape, on Friday.

One or more inmates allegedly took the officers hostage, according to police and prisons union Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo, who bemoaned the unsafe working conditions warders are subjected to in overcrowded, under-resourced facilities.

Cope echoed Mamabolo’s sentiments, stating “shortage of staff is the biggest problem facing the DCS [and] forever puts the lives of the DCS officials in danger.”

The party demanded that minister of justice and correctional services, Advocate Michael Masutha take responsibility for the events that occurred at the prison.

“The Inspecting Judge, Justice Johann van der Westhuizen, wishes to convey his heartfelt condolences to the family and colleagues of the official who died,” said spokesperson for the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) Emerantia Cupido.

Cupido said Van der Westhuizen recognised “DCS officials work under dangerous and stressful situations”.

He asked them to “continue to be vigilant whilst performing their duties.”

The JICS Regional Office would be monitoring the situation at the Goedemoed Correctional Centre.

Cope would also like for president Cyril Ramaphosa to sanction an investigation into the “circumstances surrounding it [and] what led to the hostage incident.”

Masutha and his department have yet to release a statement on the matter.

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