Deputy Minister to visit St Albans prison following violent attack

Preliminary reports indicate at least three inmates have died and five guards were injured during the incident.

A group of inmates attacked prison warders at the St Albans Prison in PE.Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Deputy Justice Minister Thabang Makwetla and Correctional services National Commissioner Zach Modise are expected to visit St Albans Prison in Port Elizabeth (PE) on Tuesday, following a violent battle between warders and inmates.

The facility has been placed under lockdown after violent scuffles broke out on Monday.

Preliminary reports indicate at least three inmates have died and five guards were injured during the incident.
Twenty-five other inmates have been hospitalised.

On Monday, shortly after a shift change, a group of inmates attacked prison warders at the facility.

Officials have restricted access to the prison indefinitely while they probe the incident.

Correctional services’ Logan Maistry says, “Inmates at the St Albans Maximum Correctional Centre in PE attacked officials with sharp objects. As a result, the public are advised that all visits have been suspended until further notice.”

While speculation around the motive suggests the attack may have been gang related - details surrounding the incident remain vague.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says it will write to the chairperson of the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services to request Minister Michael Masutha to appear before the committee as soon as possible at the start of 2017.

The opposition party says Masutha should account to Parliament for the violent clashes at the St Alban’s Prison on Monday.

One prisoner died in hospital and two others succumbed to their injuries while on their way to Livingstone Hospital for further treatment.

The DA’s James Selfe says the party is deeply concerned.

“This is not the first time that violence has occurred at St Albans, and for that reason we are asking the department to come report to the portfolio committee about what transpired there.”

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)