NATIONAL Commissioner of Correctional Services Tom Moyane has issued a stern warning to sluggish prison officials that they will be dealt with without fear or favour.
Moyane spent two days in KwaZulu-Natal visiting correctional services centres.
He started at South Africa's best high security prison in Kokstad last week.
Moyane convened a session in the province to discuss the strategic direction of the department in improving service delivery and promoting accountability.
He and his chief deputy commissioners, chief of staff and regional commissioners agreed that with "passion and a sense of achievement" everything was possible when a team worked together.
"For too long we have been sitting in comfort zones," Moyane said.
"It is about time we implement many policies we have developed.
"Managers must not be afraid to take decisions. I also expect everyone to apply his or her mind and do their best.
"We must do things smarter."
His visit comes after several jailbreaks by dangerous inmates from Durban's Westville and Newcastle prisons.
Eight inmates had escaped from Westville in February, one died, five were rearrested and two are still at large.
Moyane urged executive management to help "redeem staff esteem, build trust, ensure speedy and qualitative delivery of reports and be fully accountable for one's actions".
He also spoke out against the recent escape of 41 remanded detainees at the Harrismith correctional centre.
"I am not going to condone negligence," Moyane said.
He described mediocrity, lethargic and poor quality work as well as errors made on matters of principle as "non-negotiables" that would not be tolerated.
He applauded officials who worked beyond the call of duty, saying they would be appropriately acknowledged.
Moyane pledged to visit all regions to encourage officials to take their jobs seriously.