Popcru demands urgent action after three prison warders stabbed
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) on Tuesday lashed out at the department of correctional services over inadequate workplace safety measures after disclosing that three warders are in hospital with stab wounds.
The "preventable stabbings" of correctional officials took place over this past weekend, the union said in a statement.
The officials were attacked and stabbed by inmates at the Goedmoed and Kroonstad Correctional Centres and are all currently in hospital with serious stab wounds, said Popcru.
"We have learned with discontent the continuous failure of the department of correctional services to take sufficient measures in protecting its employees; a majority of whom are our members," said the union.
"At the time of the attack at the Goedmoed Correctional Centre, only three correctional officials were on duty, guarding 300 inmates.
"The correctional services management has effectively rendered the lives of correctional officials worthless by their failure to comply to their safety policies. This incident has adversely affected the morale of many other correctional officials, who continue to be single-handedly forced to work under dangerous conditions."
Popcru said the challenges of overcrowding and understaffing endangered the lives of correctional officials on a daily basis. "We have had enough with the status quo."
The union alleged that "a huge chunk of the budget that is supposed to address these challenges is primarily utilised for tenders on services that could be done internally, something which would make our correctional centres self-sustainable again".
"We call on the government to take urgent action," they urged.