Covid-19 is believed to have claimed the life of a Goodwood prison official.
The Department of Correctional Services announced the death on Freedom Day, Monday April 27. The official was not identified, but he was one of two people at the prison who had tested positive for Covid-19. Department spokesman Singabakho Nxumalo said the Department of Health was investigating to confirm that the death was Covid-19 related.
According to Correctional Services, the country’s prisons are 37% overcrowded. There are 162 875 prisoners against an accommodation capacity of 118 572 bed spaces.
Following reports that the government was considering releasing non-violent offenders as a Covid-19 countermeasure, Correctional Services said it had no plans to do that.
As of Tuesday April 28, the Western Cape’s prisons had 36 Covid-19 cases, 35 officials and one prisoner. Three officials have recovered.
Mr Nxumalo said prisoners’ out-of-cell time was now being staggered during mealtime to prevent too many prisoners and officials gathering. Prisoners would still have access to open-air time, but visits would remain restricted.
Mobile quarantine facilities would be used to help with patients who needed isolating, said Mr Nxumalo.
The Inspecting Judge of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services, Justice Edwin Cameron, did not respond to questions by the time this went online.