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'Failure to follow protocols, lack of funds played role in prison breakouts'

Speaking to Parliament’s justice committee ahead of his department’s budget briefing, Justice Minister Michael Masutha also blamed the shortage of funds and the impact that this has had on staffing.

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN – Justice minister Michael Masutha says preliminary reports on the recent spate of prison escapes show that officials failed to follow proper procedures, and in some cases, may have colluded with inmates.

Speaking to Parliament’s justice committee ahead of his department’s budget briefing, Masutha also blamed the shortage of funds and the impact that this has had on staffing.

Masutha says the impact of budget cuts is being felt across the entire criminal justice system.

The Justice Minister says Correctional Services officers’ failure to follow protocols played a role in recent prison breakouts in Gauteng, the Eastern and Western Cape.

Masutha says during the recent escape at Pollsmoor in the Western Cape, officials were not in the control centre where they could have seen what was happening on security cameras.

Masutha says the country’s jails on average are catering for 37% more inmates than they are designed to house.