Masutha orders probe into murder and hostage situation at EC prison

Stock photo.
Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Stockstudio44

Justice and correctional services minister Michael Masutha has ordered a probe into the the fatal stabbing of a prison warder at the Goedemoed Correctional Centre in Aliwal North in the Eastern Cape on Friday.

One female warder was stabbed to death and another wounded after they were held hostage for nearly three hours by an inmate on Friday afternoon.    

Police said the prisoner was busy with cleaning duties when he forced the women into an office and locked himself inside with them at around 3.30pm on Friday.

"After realising what was happening, the authorities at the centre mobilised the response teams, including SAPS hostage negotiators, who started negotiating the release of the officials for almost three hours, after which the prisoner surrendered," police said.

"When the response teams comprising of correctional service officials and Tactical Response Team (TRT) members entered the office they discovered the body of a 35-year-old warder full of blood due to stab wounds sustained while held hostage."

Her 33-year-old colleague was still alive and treated for shock as she appeared to be traumatised. The prisoner was rearrested.

Masutha said: "Her family and colleagues are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. I would also like to wish a speedy recovery to the other official, who is recovering after sustaining stab wounds in the same incident."

He added: "We cannot afford to have a similar incident recurring at any point."

Correctional services national commissioner Arthur Fraser visited the prison after the attack.

Masutha hit back at rumours that overcrowding sparked the attack.

"The population of offenders at the centre is at 97.41% capacity. It is not overcrowded."

Prisons watchdog the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) 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".

RIP my dear colleague who lost her life in the line of duty during the hostage drama yesterday at Goedemoed Medium A. ...

Posted by Ruby Elizabeth Titus-Pekeur on Saturday, 30 March 2019

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