By Staff Writer.
South African prisoners have access to communication devices that include: sim cards, chargers and DSTV walkers, and the DA is calling for the state to put signal jamming devices in prisons.
This emerged from a reply to a DA parliamentary question from the Minister of Correctional Services, Mike Masutha, who revealed that the department is losing the battle against crime in prisons.
The ministry has confiscated 98 413 illegal communication devices from inside prisons in the past five years. It said of the 98 413 devices, a total of 64 123 cellular devices have been confiscated from remand detainees and convicted prisoners. Other communication devices include: sim cards, chargers and DSTV walkers devices.
“The use of illegal communications devices in prisons makes detention facilities conduits for the direct coordination of crimes in communities, particularly gang activity,” says James Selfe, chairperson of DA Federal Council and Shadow Minister of Correctional Services.
“In the face of such high volume of illegal communications devices in prisons, it is astonishing that interventions such as signal jamming technology are not already in use in prisons.”
While the eventual detection of these devices is laudable, Selfe said the prevention is always better than cure – prison officials are clearly failing in this respect as well.
South African prisons need signal jamming devices more than ever
“I will therefore write to Minister Masutha to request that he accelerate the procurement of signal jamming devices to be placed in each and every prison in our country. Convicted inmates make use of these communication devices to handle smuggled goods and direct their criminal activities outside our prisons,” said Selfe.
Selfe said: “If we can use signal jammers in Parliament why not in Pollsmoor”?