Following the escape of some offenders on Friday at the Malmesbury prison in Western Cape, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lampla, has finally given an update on the latest development as regards the issue of prison break. Speaking today, Saturday, during a live broadcast on South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), he maintains that 69 offenders escaped from the prison, and 63 have been successfully rearrested by the law enforcement agencies while 6 offenders are still at large.
In light of the above, he commended the law enforcement agents and the correctional officers for their giant stride and swift response which has resulted in the rearrest of a large number of the prisoners. It was further added that none of the correctional officers compromised as it has been argued from many quarters. It was stressed that the offenders overpowered the officers, locked them in one of the cells, and ran out. He further maintained that efforts will be made towards ensuring that those that are still at large are apprehended and brought to book. It would be recalled that the prison break has generated a great deal of uproar and surprise amid many South Africans.
More importantly, he urged the members of the public to remain calm because the law enforcement agents are on top of the matter. It was further stated that none of the members of the public should make an attempt to arrest anyone suspected to be runaway inmates as they could be very much deadly and harmful. To this end, he directed that they should promptly alert the law enforcement agents so that the criminals will be brought to book. In the same vein, he made a great deal of clarification on one issue that many South Africans have alluded to as the reason why the prisoners broke loose.
Given the fact that the deadly coronavirus pandemic has also taken a toll on some prisoners, some people believed that the prisoners resorted to force and violence because of the fear of contracting the deadly coronavirus pandemic. He dispelled the viewpoint as hollow and lacking in merit. For him, he clarified that all prisoners that have tested positive for the deadly coronavirus pandemic were subjected to critical and proper treatment. As a matter of fact, he identified that three offenders have recovered from the deadly coronavirus, stressing that no prisoner has been recorded as a coronavirus fatality. This shows that zero percent of coronavirus related deaths among prisoners have been recorded. This is interesting.
More than any other time, the members of the public should continue to work with the security agents in order to ensure that the six prisoners that are still on the run are rearrested and made to face the full wrath of the law. In the same vein, the correctional officers should be training and given full-fledged orientation and sensitization so that they would be able to cope with any hard-heartened criminals. This is very much important.
It should be categorically stated that they must also be well empowered with state-of-the-art arms and ammunition so that they would be able to crack down on any criminal. The hollow gaps that were exploited by the criminals leading to their escape should also be identified and filled with the utmost effect.
Do the correctional officers deserve commendation on the rearrest of 63 offenders?
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