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'Prison overcrowding due to remand detainees'

Minister Michael Masutha says there are 159,241 inmates in SA’s prisons at present.

FILE: Michael Masutha. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha says more than 40,000 remand detainees are causing overcrowding in prisons.

Speaking ahead of his department's budget vote speech in Parliament today, he says overcrowding has been significantly reduced over the last ten years.

There are 159,241 people in South Africa's prisons at present.

Masutha says the country's prisons have bed space to accommodate around 120,000 prisoners.

He says the efficient management of remand detainees starts with the court system.

"Issues of case flow, making sure that there are speedy trials and that people do not languish in our facilities for an inordinate length of time because of the inefficiencies on the justice component of the valued chain. Those are some of the things we'll be looking at."

On the issue of prison breaks, officials say 43 offenders escaped last year.

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