Rapist and killer inmate 'had applied for parole'
A prisoner who allegedly stabbed a warder to death with a pair of scissors at the Aliwal North facility had applied for parole after serving 18 years.
The prisoner, Samson Madala, 37, was serving two life sentences at the Goedemoed Correctional Ccentre in the Eastern Cape for rape, murder and assault.
On Friday, Madala allegedly stabbed Nomsa Joyce Stuurman, 35, in the neck during a four-hour hostage drama.
He also allegedly raped another female warder during the ordeal, according to police. Madala was on cleaning duty when he forced the women into an office and locked himself inside with them.
Insiders at the facility told Sowetan yesterday Madala's application for parole had been referred to the authorities.
"He had a problem because his family does not want to vouch for him as they said he raped a family member. They do not want to take him back," said an insider.
Correctional services spokesperson Logan Maistry said the inmate started serving his sentence on March 29, 2001 but he was denied parole. Maistry could not immediately say when the prisoner was denied parole.
Madala, who was sentenced to life imprisonment on four counts of murder, rape and robbery, was a cleaner in the section of the prison in which the incident occurred.
A warder, who cannot be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media, told Sowetan they were horrified when they found Stuurman's lifeless body lying in a pool of blood.
"This happened around lock down time. There were four members working at the time, including the two female wardens.
"One of them left and went to fetch a batch of keys while a male member was left with them," the warden said.
He said Madala then diverted the male warden by claiming a fight had broken out outside.
"The male member went outside and closed the grill behind him.
"Madala then got a hold of a padlock and locked the door before he attacked Stuurman and took the other one to another section and allegedly raped her," the warder said.
Another warder said Stuurman's murder had left them scared of returning to their posts.
"This thing about us being short staffed is putting our lives in danger.
"How am I supposed to watch over plus-minus 20 inmates alone?"
Madala has been charged with murder and rape.
Justice and correctional services minister Michael Masutha has ordered a probe into the incident.
Masutha instructed the national commissioner of correctional services Arthur Fraser to establish the facts surrounding the "unfortunate" incident.
He dismissed claims that the incident may have occurred as a result of overcrowding, saying the prison was at 97% of its capacity.
Maistry said investigations into the incident were still ongoing.
South African Correctional Officers Services Workers Unions general secretary Belinda Rathebe had said the incident was a direct result of the shortage in personnel.
"Two females and one male were on duty in a section with more than 200 offenders, not by default but by staff shortage considering the offender official ratio of 1:30," Rathebe said.
Prisons watchdog the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services inspecting judge Johann van der Westhuizen said correctional services officials "work under dangerous and stressful situations and asks them to continue to be vigilant whilst performing their duties".