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Popcru: Murder of policewoman wake up call for correctional services

Police say the prisoner pretended to be sleeping when Colonel Sibongile Vilakazi brought her medication and clothes into a cell on Saturday.

Picture: Winnie Theletsane/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Police and Prison Civil Rights Union (Popcru) says the alleged murder of a female police officer by an awaiting trial prisoner in Mpumalanga over the weekend must be seen as a wakeup call for correctional services.

Police say the prisoner pretended to be sleeping when Colonel Sibongile Vilakazi brought her medication and clothes into a cell on Saturday.

Once the officer’s back was turned, she was attacked.

Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo says procedures that govern how officers interact with prisoners awaiting trial need to be reworked to ensure the safety of police.

He says the prisoner's mental stability and the need for officers to visit cells in groups are some of the things the correctional services department must look at.

“When police officers are going into an environment where there are inmates or awaiting trialists we make sure that we work in groups. Police officers need to work in groups under any circumstances.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has conveyed his condolences to Colonel Vilakazi’s family.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)

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