Sorghum beer, drugs found in Westville prison search

31 December 2018 - 17:25 By Ernest Mabuza
Sun City prison warders as part of Operation Vala raiding the cells in search of weapons, drugs, cellphones and electrical items not permitted in prison. A similar operation at Westville Medium B on Monday resulted in the seizure of prohibited items, including dagga and cellphones.
Sun City prison warders as part of Operation Vala raiding the cells in search of weapons, drugs, cellphones and electrical items not permitted in prison. A similar operation at Westville Medium B on Monday resulted in the seizure of prohibited items, including dagga and cellphones.
Image: Tebogo Letsie

A routine search at the Westville Medium B prison in Durban on Monday resulted in the confiscation of a number of prohibited items such as sorghum beer and drugs, the department of correctional services said.

The search was part of the department’s annual Operation Vala security campaign, which resulted in numerous unauthorised items being confiscated from offenders at 40 prisons.

The operation started at 3.40am and ended at 8am on Monday.

Among the items found were 425 litres of sorghum beer, 75 mandrax tablets, 388 slopes of dagga, about R1,600 cash and 51 cellphones with lots of SIM cards.

Speaking to the media after the raid, KwaZulu-Natal regional correctional services commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele said inmates found with prohibited items would be charged.

Nxele thanked the police, Ethekwini metro police and customs department whose members also took part in the search.

Correctional services spokesperson Thulani Mdluli said the December/January holiday period was, generally, a time when inmates were desperate to escape for various reasons, such as to participate in criminal activities or simply to be with family or friends.

“It is for this reason that special emphasis is placed on security measures in correctional centres, with increased visibility and involvement of managers at all levels in the operational activities.

“Tempted to regain their freedom during the festive season, inmates never cease to tap into their creative minds to find ways to smuggle contraband into correctional centres,” Mdluli said.

Mdluli said a challenge facing correctional services was the low level of visits to inmates by their families.

“This reduces the emotional and psychological outlook of inmates, which is critical for effective rehabilitation and social reintegration.”

Mdluli said the disintegration of family life, and community, was a major contributor to crime.

“Supporting, and rebuilding, family ties should be central to the efforts to prevent, and respond to, crime. In numerous instances, incarceration diminishes contact with close relatives and undermines the family connections that could aid in restoration.”

He said the department alone could never achieve the ideals of a crime-free society.



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