Correctional Services has dismissed as baseless the allegation that it has concealed details regarding COVID-19 infections at the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein. This comes after a female official tested positive for COVID-19.

Some prison officials at the Mangaung Private Prison have expressed concern over their safety. They have accused the management of concealing details on coronavirus infections.

It’s been claimed that three officials and 10 inmates are in isolation. Free State Popcru Secretary, Amelia Mahlatsi, says prison management should adhere to lockdown regulations.

“We want to confirm that we have got the first registered COVID-19 case coming from female official working in the library. We engaged management that library should remain closed to ensure safety and wellbeing of our members. We engaged management that we need only to work with 50% of the staff establishment to avoid congestion and to further work with the protocol of level 4 of COVID-19,” says Mahlatsi.

Correctional Services Spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo says the allegations are devoid of truth.

“It does disturb us as Correctional Services when frivolous allegations are constantly been made. This is not assisting at all. It doesn’t all harm the image of the institution; it is putting a strain on our officials who are doing everything possible to deal with the virus,” says Nxumalo.

Free State Health Spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi, says they have developed guidelines to ensure that prison officials and inmates don’t contract the deadly virus.

“We appreciate the co-operation that we get from management at the prison. We can confirm that one person has tested positive. As we speak, he is in isolation. But we have made contacts with people who were in contact with the person who tested positive. We screened and tested them and we are happy to say no one has tested positive,” says Mvambi.

Government has authorised the parole of selected categories of sentenced inmates. This was to curb coronavirus in prisons.

Below is a graphic of statistics in Correctional Services: