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Inter-departmental issues add to prison overcrowding

Crucial infrastructure projects have not been completed by the Public Works Dept.

FILE: There are 159,241 people in South Africa’s prisons at present. Picture: freeimages.com

CAPE TOWN - Correctional Services says deficiencies in the Department of Public Works are causing delays in programmes aimed at addressing overcrowding in prisons.

In his pre-budget vote speech briefing on Wednesday, Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha said more than 40,000 remand detainees were causing the congestion.

His deputy Thabang Makwetla delivered part of the department's budget speech in the National Assembly.

Makwetla said crucial infrastructure projects had not been completed due to inter-departmental shortcomings.

"Six contractors appointed by the Department of Public Works on major Department of Correctional Services' projects have been liquidated since 2012, causing massive delays and cost overruns, affecting no less than 1,366 bed spaces, which by now have should be at the disposal of the Department of Correctional Services."

There are 159,241 people in South Africa's prisons at present, but Masutha says prisons have bed space to accommodate around 120,000 prisoners.

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