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The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) finds itself in the spotlight once again, following an inmate’s death at its Glencoe Prison.
Allegedly, inmate Spamandla Njilo was brutally assaulted by prison wardens, resulting in him succumbing to his injuries on Monday, 5 April 2021. According to another inmate, he witnessed the wardens beating Njilo in an office within the facility before dragging him back to the cell.
Speaking to the Daily News, the witness further claims the wardens began taking photos of the dying prisoner shortly after dumping him back in his cell. This was apparently to cover up their crime, making it seem as though the prisoners were involved in a fight.
The inmate further claims the prison was then placed on a total shutdown, with prison officials allegedly threatening inmates not to speak about what had transpired. After this, the officials contacted the Njilo family to notify them of the tragic passing.
Despite the wardens attempting to ensure inmates remained silent, one managed to notify the family of what had happened, explaining that fellow inmates had been instructed not to tell anyone, or they would be dealt with and transferred to another prison facility.
However, there is more to the incident than meets the eye. Therefore, the Newcastillian – Online News contacted the DCS for comment. This is what they had to say, “Correctional Services Amendment Act, No. 32 of 2001 under Section C of Security recommends the use of minimum force, should there be any uncontainable life-threatening situation stirred by inmates in our care. Wherein emphasising, that there must be a right of every inmate to personal integrity and privacy but subject to the limitations reasonably necessary to ensure the security of the community, the safety of correctional officials and the safe custody of all inmates.”
In contrast to the inmate’s claims, the DCS explains on 5 April 2021 at the Glencoe Medium Facility, at around 7. 45am during the serving of breakfast at the food serving point, the deceased offender was armed with a sharpened object that he had used to stab another offender, Busani Mnelisi Shoba.
“Officials had to use minimum force, as prescribed to disarm the perpetrator who was violent and aggressive, but he retaliated and refused to surrender the sharpened object.”
Njilo then apparently attacked an official, Arron Sabelo Dhlamini, who survived the stabbing and did not sustain any injuries.
The department goes on to state, “Ultimately, the perpetrator surrendered the sharpened object, and was taken to the office inside Glencoe Medium Facility to impose charges against him as prescribed in the policy.”
According to the DCS, Njilo sustained injuries during his altercation with another inmate. Simultaneously, the victim suffered two stab wounds on the neck. Shoba was rushed to Dundee Provincial Hospital, where he received medical attention and was discharged in a stable condition.
According to the DCS, it is reported the perpetrator then walked by himself from the meal serving point towards the office, which is situated inside the courtyard. Suddenly, he showed signs of dizziness and collapsed at the entrance of the office.
The department emphasises, “The scene necessitated the perpetrator to be rushed into Glencoe Medium internal clinic. Upon medical observations by health practitioners, the perpetrator’s health condition deteriorated, and an Ambulance (Emergency Services – EMS) had to be called. At about 09h48 in the morning, the perpetrator was then declared dead by EMS, and the family was accordingly informed about the sad news. A case of murder was opened at Glencoe Police Station and internal preliminary investigation has been instituted.”
In this regard, the DCS points out the matter has been reported to Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS). It further affirms, “We will continue to uphold our centres as centres of new beginnings not for war zones, for we have an obligation to provide the best correctional services for a safer South Africa.”
With investigations now underway, what are your thoughts on the matter? Share your views in the comment section below.