Wardens at the Mdantsane Correctional Centre in the Eastern Cape demand that all officials and inmates be tested for the coronavirus (COVID-19). They accuse the centre’s management of not following proper measures when there is a case and claim that officials are forced to decontaminate offices themselves.

The Department of Correctional Services on Saturday said 74% of the total of both prisoners and officials that tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) have recovered.

From a total of 2 245 COVID-19 infections, the DCS has 559 active cases.

The wardens say as the number of cases continues to rise in Correctional Centres across the country, their lives are at risk.

In the video below, inmates decry poor adherence to COVID-19 regulations in prisons:

A warden, who chose to remain anonymous, says people that have tested positive and are not quarantined, expose others to the virus.

“During the week, people are working in other places. Over the weekend, they are transferred to conduct ordinary security duties. But if people have been tested positive in that particular office, when those people are not quarantined as they should be and instead are booked elsewhere, they are exposing other people, if they are also positive. Because it’s highly impossible to come across one not to be affected as well.”

The Correctional Services Department maintains that it follows all proper protocols regarding COVID-19 in their centres.

The department’s Spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo, says they believe that more education about the pandemic is needed.

“What we have since observed and we do understand that it is largely attributed to the fear that everyone has because we are dealing with the new disease here. The moment people hear that one of their own has tested positive and they reported for duty on the same day, they immediately classify themselves as direct contacts; even when they are not direct contacts. It’s something perhaps we need to explain much broadly and take people through this educational awareness that says how do you define a direct contact.”