Justice & Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has issued a warning to officials who are helping inmates to smuggle cellphones and other contraband into correctional centres after almost 21 000 cellphones were confiscated between April and October this year.

Lamola said four officials were hauled over the coals for being involved in smuggling cellphones to prisoners, reports IoL.

Of the four, one was fired in KZN, one in Gauteng resigned before the disciplinary hearing was held and two in the Western Cape are facing disciplinary action.

Lamola said during operations by officials in prisons, they recovered 20 933 cellphones. In Gauteng they recovered 5 381 cellphones, in KZN prison authorities confiscated 4 433 cellphones from inmates and in the Eastern Cape they confiscated 3 288 cellphones. In the Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West region they confiscated 3 139 mobile phones, in the Western Cape, 2 780 cellphones and in the Free State and Northern Cape region prison officials were able to recover 1 972 cellphones.

Lamola said they continue to conduct searches in their centres to prevent the smuggling of cellphones.

‘Disciplinary measures and swift consequence management are applied to all officials, visitors, service providers and inmates involved in any form of smuggling of contraband including among others, cellular devices,’ said Lamola, who was replying to a written parliamentary question from ANC MP Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen.

Lamola said they have also increased patrols in their centres in a bid to stop the smuggling of cellphones.

Full IoL report